In honor of this week’s Republican convention, I’m reading Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here. The “it” of the title is basically totalitarianism. The novel was published in 1935 – so presumably written mostly in the years just before 1935 – and set during the presidential election of 1936. In real life, this was FDR’s reelection to his second term, but in the novel there appears to be no FDR figure – though there is some disgruntlement about some policies that resemble the New Deal – and the election is between left-winger Berzelius Windrip and his as-yet-unnamed Republican opponent. Since the enemy of choice in this era was Communism, which is a leftist ideology, the conservatives are generally thought of as the reasonable option, in spite of the fact that they occasionally praise Hitler and Mussolini.
I can’t say that this book is especially riveting. I’ve read 48 pages and have barely made it into the plot – when Sinclair Lewis does exposition, he really does exposition. The prose is rewarding in an Edith Whartonish sort of way, with little social-criticism zingers like this: “The DAR (reflected the cynic, Doremus Jessup, that evening) is a somewhat confusing organization – as confusing as Theosophy, Relativity, or the Hindu Vanishing Boy Trick, all three of which it resembles. It is composed of females who spend one half of their waking hours boasting of being descended from the seditious American colonists of 1776, and the other and more ardent half in attacking all contemporaries who believe in precisely the principles for which these ancestors struggled” (4).
I started the cowl in the photo above when I was watching Season 6 of Game of Thrones at a friend’s house last week. Its grays and tans and steel blues suited the mood of that series. I love the colors and think I’ll enjoy the cowl, though of course it will never be cold enough around here to justify a cowl.
More on the novel soon. Happy Wednesday!
Yarn Along is hosted by Ginny on her blog, Small Things.