ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Trail of the Hawk by Sinclair Lewis

Updated on February 9, 2014

The Trail of the Hawk, an Ironic Comedy by Sinclair Lewis

The Trail of the Hawk was the third novel written by American literary giant Sinclair Lewis, though only the second one using his real name.  This novel is subtitled: "A Comedy of the Seriousness of Life" and shows the young Lewis coming into his own as a literary force to be recokened with. 

Published in 1915, this work is a classic and is now a highly sought after and collectible antique book.  The resurgance of Sinclair Lewis in academe makes the reprinting of "The Trail of the Hawk" far more likely in the near future. If you want to read some classic American literature, you won't do bad looking up forgotten giant Sinclair Lewis

Sinclair Lewis Fiction from Amazon

Great Sinclair Lewis books from

The Trail of the Hawk by Sinclair Lewis

Critical, but not commercial, success

The Trail of the Hawk: A Comedy of the Seriousness of Life was the third novel authored by Sinclair Lewis, the second "serious" one.

Although Our Mr. Wrenn seemed to be heavily enjoyed, it was printed in only a limited 3,000 copy printing, and so Lewis was still searching for his first significant success.

"Trail of the Hawk" is a story about boyhood, youth, and later adventurous careers in early aviation and automobile manufacturing. The protagonist is Norwegian American Carl Ericson, born in 1885. This puts him at a great time of technological change and advancement in American history, as aviation and automobiles would not have even existed during his birth, but by the time he was an adult both were in full swing development.

Carl is an adventurous youth, and when he was eight years old in Joralemon, Minnesota, he ran off on impulse into a cold night with Gertrude ('Gertie') Cowles, three years his senior.

This begins a life long trend as again and again Carl will run off somewhere new. Occasionally he will long for a return to Joralemon and to Gertie, his first accomplice. Carl's life moves through three "adventures."

These three adventures are also phases. The first is simply being young, the secon is living a life of adventuring and daring for adventure's sake, and the third is finally seeking love as a way of unifying his fragmented life.

An interesting note is that during the second set of adventures Hawk has, which includes trips to California and Panama while acquiring the nickname "Hawk," he runs into Istra Nash, the same artist that Mr. Wrenn met with in Sinclair Lewis's previous novel.

This novel, more than any other of Lewis, is extremely autobiographical, involving his notebooks from various years and places, as well as his courtship and marriage with Grace Hegger.

This novel was well received, and seen by many critics as an advancement in both style and skill from the original novel Our Mr. Wrenn. Several critics thought that "Hawk" showed glimpses of the potential for greatness, but it wouldn't be realized with this book.

Only 6,500 copies were published--over double of "Our Mr. Wrenn" but not nearly enough for a full year's work. Still, critically this book garnered enough positive reviews to ensure future book contacts.

eBay is Great for finding Sinclair Lewis 1st Editons!

I've found several good ones here, even the occasional rare first edition from pre 1920!

Links on Sinclair Lewis and his work

Various sites and lenses on Sinclair Lewis and his antique novels.

The Most Valuable Sinclair Lewis Novel I Own

Right now, it's Trail of the Hawk

Trail of the Hawk is currently the most valuable first edition that I own. At one time I owned a first edition, first printing of The Innocents but I ended up selling that for an excellent profit. Bought for under $60, sold for $775. That was a very good day.

The copy I have now is excellent, and would fetch around $350. However, I am rather partial to it, but I did track down another first edition, so I actually own two copies of "Trail of the Hawk" right now. The one that's just in good condition is probably more in the $125-150 range as opposed to $350, but that "cheap" one would pay for both of my copies, with about $5 left over, so I'm leaning that way.

That's the one thing about becoming a book hound. Sometimes you get favorites you just don't want to let go :)

Please feel free to leave comments, advice, stories, etc. Please rank this lens if you found it interestng or helpful. Thanks!


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)