The Organization Man Still Matters: Sinclair Lewis's Babbitt


  • Marcel Hartwig



Ever since its publication Sinclair Lewis’s Babbitt “(1922) has been a thorn in the side of many businessmen and organizations. Debates ranging from its literary merit to its content caused a stir during the ‘Roaring Twenties.’ However, the novel could also be read as a starting point in a series of writings about the evolution of modern business and businessmen. The paper argues that Babbitt traces developments of the contemporary organization man and his estrangement from his personal culture due to a boosting consumer culture. Lewis’s Babbitt “thus is an early predecessor of sociologist William H. Whyte’s organization man and of the yuppie of the 1980s.

Author Biography

Marcel Hartwig

Marcel Hartwig studied English and American Studies, Psychology and Business Education at Chemnitz University of Technology and the University of Glasgow (2004/05). Today he is a research associate at the English Studies Department at Chemnitz University of Technology. In his dissertation project he researches The Pearl Harbor Syndrome: The Role of the Japanese in American Popular Culture after 1941“. In his seminars he focuses on American popular culture, youth cultures of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and censorship in American literature.


How to Cite

Hartwig, Marcel. “The Organization Man Still Matters: Sinclair Lewis’s Babbitt”. Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies, vol. 9, Mar. 2012, doi:10.5283/copas.106.