The book was adapted into a play in 1979 by a Troy University (Troy Alabama) theatre professor and produced by the school's drama department.
The novel centers on the life of a Methodist pastor named Theron Ware who has recently moved to a fictional small town in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, which Frederic modeled after Utica, New York. A promising young pastor recently married, Theron has a number of experiences that cause him to begin to question the Methodist religion, his role as a priest and even the very existence of God. His moral decline (or illumination) is heightened through his dealings with Father Forbes, the town's Catholic priest; Dr. Ledsmar, a local atheist, philosopher, and man of science; and Celia, a local Irish Catholic girl, a species of aesthete, with whom Theron becomes hopelessly infatuated. In the end, these three "advanced" characters find Theron a bore, and tell him so. He goes on a binge, and is saved by Brother and Sister Soulsby, common-sensical fund-raisers for Methodist congregations. Their feet are on the ground, and they pack Theron and his wife off to the new state of Washington, where, who knows?, he might end up in politics.
The name "Theron Ware" was later used by the SF author James Blish for his "villain" in the novel Black Easter (UK) , "Faust Aleph-Null" (US). In this novel Ware brings about the death of God and the triumph of Satan.
Page out of literary history is sold to Historical Society; Lewis novel inscribed to Fitzgerald on display.(NEWS)
Aug 15, 1997; Did F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sinclair Lewis, two of Minnesota's literary greats, read and respect each other's work? Scholars long...