Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Sinclair, Upton

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(1878-1968) US writer who remains most famous for muckraking novels from early in his career, most notably The Jungle (1905), an exposé of conditions in the Chicago stockyards. His speculative works, mostly sf, are similarly designed to suggest ameliorative changes to the real world. In his prolific career, however, US did write some fantasy, most being also political Satire. Prince Hagen: A Phantasy (1903; rev vt Prince Hagen: A Drama in Four Acts performed 1909; 1921) is a kind of spoof Bildungsroman, in which the eponymous heir to the throne of Nibelheim – an Underworld central to Nordic Fantasy – comes to the surface where, as a Tammany Hall boss in turn-of-the-century New York, he threatens to corrupt the world. Roman Holiday (1931) is a Timeslip tale whose protagonist witnesses the political delusions of the Roman Republic. The Gnomobile: A Gnice Gnew Gnarrative with Gnonsense, but Gnothing Gnaughty (1936), filmed by Disney as The Gnome-Mobile (1967), describes the saving of a family of gnomes from destruction wreaked by the logging industry.

US also wrote several fantasies featuring Messiah figures, whose defeat by the modern world is described satirically. They Call Me Carpenter (1922) is delusional; in Our Lady: A Story (1938) Marya, mother of Jesus (> Christ), is brought by timeslip to the modern world; and What Didymus Did (1954 UK; vt It Happened to Didymus 1958 US) argues that it is now too late for war to be stopped even through the intervention of an Angel and a man whom he has given the power to perform Miracles. [JC]

Upton Beall Sinclair


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.