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A story of a visionary, a man of great energy and purpose, courage and dedication, who never loses hope, even in the face of personal tragedy. Afterword by E. L. Doctorow.
In the fall of 1920, Sinclair Lewis began a novel set in a fast-growing city with the heart and mind of a small town. For the center of his cutting satire of American business he created the bustling, shallow, and myopic George F. Babbitt, the epitome of middle-class mediocrity. The novel cemented Lewis's prominence as a social commentator. Babbitt basks in his pedestrian success and the popularity it has brought him. He demands high moral standards from those around him while flirting with women, and he yearns to have rich friends while shunning those less fortunate than he. But Babbitt's secure complacency is shattered when his best friend is sent to prison, and he struggles to find meaning in his hollow life. He revolts, but finds that his former routine is not so easily thrown over.
Book Description When Babbitt was first published in 1922, fans gleefully hailed its scathing portrait of a crass, materialistic nation; critics denounced it as an unfair skewering of the American businessman. Sparking heated literary debate, Babbitt became a controversial classic, securing Sinclair Lewis's place as one of America's preeminent social commentators. Businessman George F. Babbitt loves the latest appliances, brand names, and the Republican Party. In fact, he loves being a solid citizen even more than he loves his wife. But Babbitt comes to resent the middle-class trappings he has worked so hard to acquire. Realizing that his life is devoid of meaning, he grows determined to transcend his trivial existence and search for greater purpose. Raising thought-provoking questions while yielding hilarious consequences, and just as relevant today as ever, Babbitt's quest for meaning forces us to confront the Babbitt in ourselves-and ponder what it truly means to be an American.
This is a satirical novel of middle America. Cass Timberlane, judge, falls in love with and marries Jinny Marshland. He and his friends are rather staid, and she's young and wants adventure. For a while she's seduced by a charming cad and a more adventurous life style but learns it's not all it seems. There's a lot of humorous satire in this book by Sinclair Lewis, America's first winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. This book has been read carefully, as well as spell-checked. All hyphens at the ends of lines are parts of words which at the time the book was written were hyphenated by the author. It's interesting to see how words and writing styles change.
The first of his major novels of the 1920s, Sinclair Lewis's Main Street satirizes the manners of the American Midwest. Here is the story of Carol Kennicott, who, to be accepted, must adapt to the ways of Gopher Prairie, Minnesota. This ground-breaking novel attacks conformism, commercialism, moneygrubbing, and the decline in what Lewis saw as the American ideals of freedom and respect for individuality.
With Commentary by E. M. Forster, Dorothy Parker, H. L. Mencken, Lewis Mumford, Rebecca West, Sherwood Anderson, Malcolm Cowley, Alfred Kazin, Constance Rourke, and Mark Schorer Main Street is the climax of civilization," Sinclair Lewis declared with a typical blend of seriousness and irony. "That this Ford car might stand in front of the Bon Ton Store, Hannibal invaded Rome and Erasmus wrote in Oxford cloisters." Main Street, the story of an idealistic young woman's attempts to reform her small town, brought Lewis immediate acclaim when it was published in 1920. It remains one of the essential texts of the American scene. Lewis Mumford observed: "In Main Street an American had at last written of our life with something of the intellectual rigor and critical detachment that had seemed so cruel and unjustified [in Charles Dickens and Matthew Arnold]. Young people had grown up in this environment, suffocated, stultified, helpless, but unable to find any reason for their spiritual discomfort. Mr. Lewis released them." Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951), was born in Sauk Centre, Minne-sota, and graduated from Yale in 1907; in 1930 he became the first American recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Main Street (1920) was his first critical and commercial success. Lewis's other noted books include Babbitt (1922), Arrowsmith (1925), Elmer Gantry (1927), Dodsworth (1929), and It Can't Happen Here (1935).
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