Upton Sinclair

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Upton Sinclair was a famous muckraker and was part of a group of American writers who exposed scandal and corruption during the 20th century. Upton Beale Sinclair Jr. was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on September 20, 1878. He was the only child of Upton Beale Sinclair and Priscilla Harden. His father worked many jobs that included selling liquor, hats, and men’s clothing. He struggled with poverty and was an alcoholic. His mother, on the other hand, was a teetotaler and came from a wealthy background. As a young boy, Upton was shy, but he began to teach himself how to read and write at the early age of five. In 1888, at the age of ten, Upton and his family moved to New York. His father was still selling hats and spending his money on alcohol. Upton had lived in poverty his whole life and didn’t like the thought of it after visiting his mother’s parents. This influenced him to want to do something with his life. As a young teenager he began writing “dime novels.” These were books of pulp fiction that sold for ten cents. Then, at only age fourteen, he attended New York City College. He paid for his education by writing for papers and magazines. In 1897, Upton graduated from New York City College and started attending Columbia University to study law. He became more interested in politics and literature and did not earn a degree in law. While attending Columbia University, he wrote eight thousand words a day and also continued to read a great deal. In fact, over one two- week Christmas break, he read all of William Shakespeare’s works and all of John Milton’s poetry. He attended Columbia University for two years and then graduated. Next, in 1900, Sinclair became involved in politics and moved to Quebec, Canada. That same year he met Meta Fuller and married her at the age of twenty one. In December of 1901 they had their son, David. He wrote his first novel Springtime and Harvest and it was a meek success. He wrote three more novels in the next four years and they...
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