In 1927 Elmer Gantry was banned in Boston and denounced from pulpits across the USA.
Gantry was a hard-drinking, womanizing, college football player, who grew into a sometimes sober, womanizing, evangelist minister. The denunciations weren’t because ministers were suddenly being held to a higher standard—it was because the fictional Elmer Gantry was a character in a novel by American author Sinclair Lewis.
In 2008, the Swedish novel, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, knocked American readers out of their collective comfort zone. The story seemed to be about a journalist named Mikael, publisher of a Swedish political magazine, but several chapters in, readers’ imaginations got hijacked by “pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander.”