American Village in a Global Setting
In October 2005 a conference honoring the contributions of Sinclair Lewis to Midwest and American culture and celebrating the friendship between Sinclair Lewis and Ida K. Compton was held at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Sinclair Lewis would no doubt have been flattered, and perhaps a bit surprised by the breadth of this conference in his honor. The fact that scholars, writers, students and readers gathered to discuss his work and its broader influence would have pleased him. He would have learned that readers still found stimulus for serious thought in his writing, and that his works can serve as a springboard to discussion of today's societal issues, some of which might surprise him considerably.The papers selected from the conference entitled The American Village in a Global Setting consider elements of Lewis' world through today's lens. In Part I, his version of community is compared to that documented in other ways, including architecture and television. Scholars address issues such as anti-Semitism, theocratic communities, the Irish, and outdoor life. In Part II, the concept of community is expanded to the visions of other authors including his contemporaries, such as Martha Ostenso, Josephine Donovan, and Willa Cather, as well as more recent writers. In Part III, today's social and cultural issues in America are addressed, expressing the global and interdisciplinary intent of the conference. And, last, Part IV continues the global theme, addressing international communities and pedagogical philosophies through film and literature.
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