Main Street

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Wildside Press LLC, Sep 1, 2007 - Fiction - 216 pages
16 Reviews
Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951) was an American novelist, short-story writer, and playwright. In 1930 he became the first American to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. This novel is about a young girl, recently graduated from college, who sets out to find action in the big city. It is a classic story upon which many novels, movies, and television shows are based.

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Review: Main Street

User Review  - Anton - Goodreads

I wish I could write words to do this novel justice but I can't, and there are a few excellent reviews of it on Goodreads already. Whenever I read Sinclair Lewis I feel like he is the greatest, most ... Read full review

Review: Main Street

User Review  - John - Goodreads

I still can't decide if I liked this book or not. I was fascinated that although this book was written nearly 100 years ago, the description of human nature as expressed thru a small community echoes ... Read full review


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About the author (2007)

The first American to win the Nobel Prize for literature, Sinclair Lewis was a busy and popular writer whose novels chronicle the social history of his time and constitute what Maxwell Geismar called "a remarkable diary of the middle class mind in America." The work that won him the Nobel Prize was a group of novels that realistically depicted various aspects of American life. Main Street (1920), his first important work, is a scathing picture of provincialism in the small town of Gopher Prairie, Minnesota, which Lewis modeled on his hometown of Sauk Centre, while Babbitt (1922), a moving account of midlife crisis experienced by an average American businessman, actually succeeded in adding a new word to the American dictionary---babbitry, or the ultimate in shallow, middle-brow materialism. Continuing a blend of social criticism with sympathy, Lewis wrote Arrowsmith (1925), in which the idealism of a devoted scientist and physician is contrasted with the materialistic forces that try to capitalize on his discoveries. Though offered the Pulitzer Prize for this novel, he refused it. Elmer Gantry (1927) is a portrait of a dissolute but successful evangelist, while Dodsworth (1929) deals with a retired industrialist whose material success and ambitious wife have failed to provide emotional sustenance. Lewis succeeded in bringing to life the talk and actions common to the middle classes of America. Although some of the conditions he describes now seem peculiarly dated, his people remain convincingly real. Lewis's sense of responsibility to society seemed to become all the stronger after his Nobel Prize, and some of the books he wrote afterward have topical subjects that now seem rather dated. It Can't Happen Here (1935) forecast an imaginary coming of fascism to the United States, Gideon Planish (1943) exposed corruption in organized philanthropy, Kingsblood Royal (1947) was one of the first novels to deal with the evils of racial prejudice, and Cass Timberlane (1945), originally subtitled A Novel of Husbands and Wives, gave a long, clear look at the institution of marriage in its story of a Minnesota judge and his young second wife. If American novelists of this century can be divided into opposing camps of social historians and literary artists, Lewis clearly belongs to the former group. As a result, he has seemed to fade further into the past as writer after writer has taken his place as an authoritative observer of the times. However, the characters he created and the human situations he has depicted have sometimes caused him to be compared to Dickens. He remains one of the great portrayers of American middle-class life in the 1920s.

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