Upton Sinclair

Literary Birthday – 20 September – Upton Sinclair

Upton Sinclair was born 20 September 1878, and died 25 November 1968.


  1. I aimed at the public’s heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach.
  2. I wrote with tears and anguish, pouring into the pages all that pain which life had meant to me. Externally the story had to do with a family of stockyard workers, but internally it was the story of my own family. Did I wish to know how the poor suffered in winter time in Chicago? I only had to recall the previous winter in the cabin, when we had only cotton blankets, and had rags on top of us. It was the same with hunger, with illness, with fear. Our little boy was down with pneumonia that winter, and nearly died, and the grief of that went into the book.
  3. Fascism is capitalism plus murder.
  4. I intend to do what little one man can do to awaken the public conscience, and in the meantime I am not frightened by your menaces.
  5. All art is propaganda. It is universally and inescapably propaganda; sometimes unconsciously, but often deliberately, propaganda.
  6. It is foolish to be convinced without evidence, but it is equally foolish to refuse to be convinced by real evidence.
  7. One of the necessary accompaniments of capitalism in a democracy is political corruption.
  8. Pessimism is mental disease. It means illness in the person who voices it, and in the society which produces that person.
  9. But the devil is a subtle worm; he does not give up at one defeat, for he knows human nature, and the strength of the forces which battle for him.

Upton Sinclair was an American author who wrote close to one hundred books in many genres. He is most famous for The Jungle which exposed conditions in the U.S. meat packing industry, causing a public uproar in 1906, and The Brass Check: A Study of American Journalism, which publicised the issue of the limitations of the ‘free press’ in the United States. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1943.

Source for image


Bain News Service, publisher, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 20th September 2013