Upton Sinclair

by John J. Miller on February 24, 2010 · 1 comment

in Explore the Vault

  • Sumo

For my current book, I’ve been reading a bit of work by and about turn-of-the-century muckraking journalists. The last time I did this was for an article on the most famous member of their ranks, Upton Sinclair, on the 100th anniversary of his best-known book, The Jungle. Reading the article again today, I’m interested to see  this line:

There’s even a movie in the works: “There Will Be Blood,” starring Daniel Day-Lewis, begins production in May. It is based on another Sinclair novel, “Oil!”

I remember writing it. The point was to ramp up the feeling that we were in a “Sinclair moment” (for lack of a better term). I had no idea at the time, but the movie became a big success: best picture nominee, best actor award to Day-Lewis, etc. It turns out that Sinclair is still bankable. That was the major theme of the article: For a guy who railed against capitalism, Sinclair sure did well by it. Here’s how the article begins:

Few writers have known how to exploit the capitalist system with the entrepreneurial skill of Upton Sinclair. He sold the manuscript for “The Jungle,” his best-known book, no less than four times: Twice in serial form, then to a book publisher, and finally to another book publisher. It was 100 years ago this month, in fact, that Doubleday (the second publisher) issued its edition of “The Jungle,” sparking a commercial sensation that launched a long and lucrative career — much of it spent in the service of anti-capitalist causes.

Upton Sinclair

  • Carter-n001

    Maybe you didn’t mean to do this but I read ” For a guy who railed against capitalism, Sinclair sure did well by it” as calling him a hypocryte. Just because he didn’t believe in the capatilist system dosen’t mean he didn’t have to live by it. It was (and is) the law of the land and he had to survive. He played the game and for better or worse, he was smart enough to make out well with the rules he had been given to play by.

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