Synopses & Reviews
Harry Sinclair Lewis was a novelist, short-story writer, and playwright. He was awarded (and rejected) a Pulitzer prize for Arrowsmith, and in 1930 became the first American to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. His books Elmer Gantry, Main Street, Babbitt, Kingsblood Royal, and Cass Timberlane were all banned in various places and times in the United States.
Main Street's protagonist, Carol Milford from Minneapolis, must adjust to small town life after marrying country doctor Will Kennecott and moving to his home town of Gopher Prairie. She finds the town backward, ugly, and conservative, and sets out to change it. She says I do not admit that Main Street is as beautiful as it should be I do not admit that dish-washing is enough to satisfy all women
Her efforts meet with resistance, but a retreat to Washington, D.C. reveals that big city life presents its own problems, and she must learn to accept and appreciate Gopher Prairie for what it is.
The first of Sinclair Lewis s great successes, Main Street shattered the sentimental American myth of happy small-town life with its satire of narrow-minded provincialism. Reflecting his own unhappy childhood in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, Lewis s sixth novel attacked the conformity and dullness he saw in midwestern village life. Young college graduate Carol Milford moves from the city to tiny Gopher Prairie after marrying the local doctor, and tries to bring culture to the small town. But her efforts to reform the prairie village are met by a wall of gossip, greed, conventionality, pitifully unambitious cultural endeavors, and worst of all the pettiness and bigotry of small-town minds.
Lewis s portrayal of a marriage torn by disillusionment and a woman forced into compromises is at once devastating social satire and persuasive realism. His subtle characterizations and intimate details of small-town America make Main Street a complex and compelling work and established Lewis as an important figure in twentieth-century American literature."
The provocative masterpiece
Sinclair Lewiss Main Street is notable for shattering the uniquely American myth of the open, progressive-minded small town. Its incisive attack on the provincial mentality stunned a nation proud of its new prosperity and power.
Notable for shattering the uniquely American myth of the open, progressive-minded small town, this novel's incisive attack on the provincial mentality stunned a nation that was proud of its new prosperity and power. This edition features a new Introduction. Revised reissue.
About the Author
Sinclair Lewis was born in 1885 in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, and graduated from Yale University in 1908. His college career was interrupted by various part-time occupations, including a period working at the Helicon Home Colony, Upton Sinclair’s socialist experiment in New Jersey. He worked for some years as a free lance editor and journalist, during which time he published several minor novels. But with the publication of Main Street (1920), which sold half a million copies, he achieved wide recognition. This was followed by the two novels considered by many to be his finest, Babbitt (1922) and Arrowsmith (1925), which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1926, but declined by Lewis. In 1930, following Elmer Gantry (1927) and Dodsworth (1929), Sinclair Lewis became the first American author to be awarded the Nobel Prize for distinction in world literature. This was the apogee of his literary career, and in the period from Ann Vickers (1933) to the posthumously published World So Wide (1951) Lewis wrote ten novels that reveal the progressive decline of his creative powers. From Main Street to Stockholm, a collection of his letters, was published in 1952, and The Man from Main Street, a collection of essays, in 1953. During his last years Sinclair Lewis wandered extensively in Europe, and after his death in Rome in 1951 his ashes were returned to his birthplace.