He is the very prototype of the Little Man.
The greatest menace in the world is not poison gas. There are gas masks against that. The menace is poisoned words, poisoned ideas.
What was once Sinclair Lewis is buried in no ground. Even in life he was fully alive only in his writing.
- He is formless, almost faceless, a man whose countenance is a caricature, a man whose framework seems cartilaginous, without bones. He is inconsequent and voluble, ill poised and insecure. He is the very prototype of the Little Man. … His movements are awkward. There is in his face no trace of any inner conflict or self-discipline.
And yet, he is not without a certain charm. But it is the soft almost feminine charm of the Austrian! When he talks it is with a broad Austrian dialect. The eyes alone are notable. Dark gray and hyperthyroidic, they have the peculiar shine which often distinguishes geniuses, alcoholics, and hysterics.
- About Adolf Hitler, in "I Saw Hitler!" in Cosmopolitan (1931), later in I Saw Hitler! (1932)
- As far as I can see, I really was put out of Germany for the crime of blasphemy. … My offense was to think that Hitler is just an ordinary man, after all. This is a crime against the reigning cult in Germany, which says that Mr. Hitler is a Messiah sent by God to save the German people — an old Jewish idea. To question this mystic mission is so heinous that, if you are German you can be sent to jail. I, fortunately, am an American, so I merely was sent to Paris. Worse things can happen to one.
- Statement of August 1934, after being expelled from Germany, quoted in Dorothy Thompson : A Legend In Her Time (1973) by Marion K. Sanders, p. 199
- No people ever recognize their dictator in advance. He never stands for election on the platform of dictatorship. He always represents himself as the instrument — the Incorporated National Will. ... When our dictator turns up you can depend on it that he will be one of the boys, and he will stand for everything traditionally American. And nobody will ever say "Heil" to him, nor will they call him "Führer" or "Duce." But they will greet him with one great big, universal, democratic, sheeplike bleat of "O.K., Chief! Fix it like you wanna, Chief! Oh Kaaaay!"
- Statement of 1935, quoted in Watchdogs of Democracy? : The Waning Washington Press Corps and How it Has Failed the Public (2006) by Helen Thomas, p. 172, and Queers in History: The Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Historical Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals, and Transponders (2009), p. 450
- It is true that the techniques of war are constantly "improved" as the genius of an age of invention is put in the service of the war machine. But that is not what is most disturbing. What is revolutionary is that the minds of men, women and children are being deliberately trained, directed, distorted, by every conceivable instrument of education and propaganda, to make them tolerant of war, receptive of war, prepared for war, lovers of war. The greatest menace in the world is not poison gas. There are gas masks against that. The menace is poisoned words, poisoned ideas.
- "Dilemma of a Pacifist"(1937)
- I know now that there are things for which I am prepared to die. I am willing to die for political freedom; for the right to give my loyalty to ideals above a nation and above a class; for the right to teach my child what I think to be the truth; for the right to explore such knowledge as my brains can penetrate; for the right to love where my mind and heart admire, without reference to some dictator’s code to tell me what the national canons on the matter are; for the right to work with others of like mind; for a society that seems to me becoming to the dignity of the human race.
I shall pick no fight, nor seek to impose by force these standards on others. But let it be clear. If the fight comes unsolicited, I am not willing to die meekly, to surrender without effort. And that being so, am I still a pacifist?
- "Dilemma of a Pacifist"(1937)
- To have felt too much is to end in feeling nothing.
- A comment regarding her divorce from Sinclair Lewis, quoted by Vincent Sheean in Dorothy and Red (1963)
- What was once Sinclair Lewis is buried in no ground. Even in life he was fully alive only in his writing. He lives in public libraries from Maine to California, in worn copies in the bookshelves of women from small towns who, in their girlhood, imagined themselves as Carol Kennicotts, and of medical men who, as youths, were inspired by Martin Arrowsmith.
- On her former husband Sinclair Lewis, "The Boy From Sauk Center" in The Atlantic (November 1960)