Upton SinclairREAD ALL ABOUT IT…
UPTON SINCLAIR!!?My cause is the Cause of a man who has never yetbeen defeated, and whose whole being is one all devouring,God-given holy purpose?, declared Upton Beall Sinclair. Thisman is not only an American novelist, essayist, journalist, butalso deeply involved in politics. He has accomplished somany things throughout his life span, it is tough to comparehim to anyone else. Until Sinclair was in his later life, hewas an unknown failure to many, but then for forty yearsafter that, he was America’s most important writer.
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Sinclair was born in Baltimore on the 20th ofSeptember in 1878. He was born in near poverty conditionsto his dysfunctional family consisting of his father whodrank himself to death, and his mother a southern aristocrat.
He taught himself to read and write by the time he wasfive years old. By the time he was 14, he had alreadygraduated the City College of New York. He furthered hiseducation by becoming a special student at ColumbiaUniversity. He was supporting himself and paying his ownway through his education by writing and selling book. Whileat Columbia University he was inspired by another studentto write even more novels. He started writing weekly novelsconsisting of more than 30,000 words and selling them as?half-dime novels?. With the frustration of trying to make iton such little profit, he left Columbia University. Once Sinclair left, he started his first real novel entitledSpringtime and Harvest. Publishers did not see his point tothe novel, so they figured no one else would and with muchdisappointment, turned down the novel. ?In order tosucceed, one must fail at least once? was often a quoteused by Sinclair. He followed this quote often due to thenext couple of novels he wrote. Within the two years, hewrote four long novels, and all were reviewed negativelyand very few had sales.
1906 was Sinclair’s lucky year. In years earlier, hewould often fight for free speech and write about politics,but he decided to try a new approach this year. Sinclair ismost famous for the novel he wrote this year entitled TheJungle. As for the rejection, six publishers turned him downon the book at first, so Sinclair decided to publish the bookhimself. One publisher wrote ? I advise without hesitationand unreservedly against the publications of this book whichis gloom and horror unrelieved. One feels that what is at thebottom of his fierceness is not nearly so much desire tohelp the poor as hatred of the rich.? To prove this publisherwrong, Sinclair advertised for his book, and received ordersfor 972 copies of The Jungle. Within in the next couple ofyears, more than 150,000 copies were sold, and the bookwas printed in seventeen different languages and was abest seller all over the world.
During this period of time, the President of the UnitedStates was Theodore Roosevelt. He read The Jungle, andimmediately following he declared an investigation of themeat-packing industry. Although Roosevelt was not happywith such a book, he was not happy at what he saw in theindustries he investigated. The impact of this book, had thesame impact as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book called UncleTom’s Cabin. With the profit made from The Jungle, Sinclair decidedto build the Helicon Hall. This was a utopian community thatcontained all of the virtues he believed in for socialism. OnNovember 1, 1906 this building was opened. Over $30,000was invested in this utopia. Journalists remarked that theHelicon Hall was only built for a ?free love nest? just tohave mistresses available, but truly it was a communal livinghall for families upholding high moral standards. Sinclair’sgreatest hero was that of Jesus Christ, so to have suchstereotypes journalists should rethink what they might havesaid. Not even a year later, on March 7, 1907, Sinclairawoke to the smell of smoke and cries of fire. He made hisway outside, half burned, and looked back upon his dreamas it went disappeared. ?The beautiful utopia was flamingand roaring, until it crashed in and died away to a dullglow? Sinclair recalled. Some say that the Helicon Hall wasonly built to burn down for insurance collecting, but actuallyinsurance only paid for about two-thirds of the damage andSinclair ended up paying for the other damage. The profit hemade on The Jungle was now lost.
Years would go by, and Sinclair would continue writingnovels, poems, and pretty much everything.