How to buy a drink in Prohibition America: ‘Babbit’ by Sinclair Lewis (1922)

Shoshi's Book Blog

Reading ‘Miss Lonelyhearts’ really got me thinking about prohibition in novels.  It’s funny, because it’s one of those historical events that I have trouble believing ever happened so I keep missing it in fiction, unless banged over the head with it.

Prohibition was in force from 1920-1933!  I think I tend to forget about it because there was so much psychedelic madness going on in European literature at the time.  Across the Atlantic people are writing and reading: ‘Parade’s End’, ‘The Good Soldier Svejk’, ‘Orlando’, ‘Stepenwolf’, ‘Decline and Fall’, ‘The Trial‘ and ‘Ulysses‘.  I think I’ve always assumed that these books were mostly written, and read, under the influence of alcohol.  It just seems incredible that books which belong next to a good full glass of something strong were written when no one in America could legally buy such an important reading aid.

I’m in New…

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