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Main Street: The Story of Carol Kennicott [Hardcover]

Sinclair Lewis
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
Price: 26.54 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

10 Sep 2010
This scarce antiquarian book is a facsimile reprint of the original. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment for protecting, preserving, and promoting the world's literature in affordable, high quality, modern editions that are true to the original work.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 460 pages
  • Publisher: Kessinger Publishing (10 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1163331201
  • ISBN-13: 978-1163331200
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 22.6 x 15 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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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 freelance 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. 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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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ON a hill by the Mississippi where Chippewas camped two generations ago, a girl stood in relief against the cornflower blue of Northern sky. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you, Mr. Lewis 9 Oct 2000
By A Customer
Carol Milford, an enlightened, beautiful, young woman gets married. She thinks she is marrying Dr. Kennicott, she doesn't know that she is also marrying his town, Gopher Prairie. She tries to love the town and tries hard. She wants to improve things, change, reform. She is faced with stone walls. And ugly ones at that. They resent her, they don't take her seriously, they call her crazy, flippant, foolish, snobbish, arrogant, silly, light woman, bad woman and a lot of other things. She alternates between wanting to give up and to continue. At times she is lazy, diligent, hopeless, hopeful, resigned, rebellious and often lonely. I read Carol's story as if I was living it. Half way through the book, I was giving her advice: "Run for your life!" or "Hang in there!". Sinclair Lewis is a brilliant narrator. He tells the story of Gopher Prairie with wit, charm and sarcastic humour. I believe that he was the first male feminist of America. The next book I'll be reading is Babbitt.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine social satire that still has relevance 27 Oct 2010
By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER
Sinclair Lewis's Main Street was something of a literary phenomenon when it was first published in 1920, the book rather daringly satirising good wholesome smalltown values that were very much in vogue at the time. While it is therefore very much of its time in its theme, and certainly old-fashioned in its writing style, the manner in which Main Street depicts American traditional social values and attitudes in tremendous detail, showing where they derive from and how they persist, means that the novel still has a great deal of relevance.

Lewis more or less states his purpose in a brief introduction where he sets out that he is going to examine the proposition that the Main Street of small mid-western towns represent "the climax of civilisation". That's certainly not the view of liberal and cultured Carol Milford of Minneapolis, who is proud of her heritage and sees America as "a glorious country; a land to be big in", but fears that the blissful stagnation and "dullness made God" in the peasant population of smalltown America rather lets the side down. And really, do the Main Streets of such towns have to be quite so ugly?

Her dream of planting "a seed of liberalism in the blank wall of mediocrity" is put to the test when she marries Dr. Kennicott, 13 years her elder, and moves to Gopher Prairie, believing she can made a model town out of it, seeing it as an empire to conquer. Gopher Prairie however is a hopeless backwater, whose peasant population is made up principally of German, Dutch and Scandinavian immigrants, with a social hierarchy of professionals and traders that is unwarrantedly proud and self-satisfied of their mediocre little town and their modest achievements.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Sinclair Lewis's "Main Street" deals honestly with the negative aspects of small town life. In the book, Carol Kennicott, a big city girl marries Dr. Kennicott, and they move to the small town of Gopher Prarie. Carol is an idealist, but her efforts to reform the town are met with ignorance. The citizens of Gopher Prarie are convinced that they lead a utopian life, and that poverty and ugliness does not exist in their town. Carol is subjected to gossip, greed, and dullness in her journey through Gopher Prarie. I think this book is an accurate description of many small towns, but it deals too negatively with small towns. I have visited many times Lewis's hometown of Sauk Centre, after which Gopher Prarie was modeled, and found none of the drab buildings and narrow minded people that Lewis described. Howver, this novel is a classic example of how our own ignorance prevents us from seeing our true surrondings. This book is a real eye opener.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Sarah A. Brown VINE VOICE
I bought this novel after reading Sinclair Lewis's gripping story of a fascist takeover of the US, `It Can't Happen Here'. I'd been struck by Lewis's interest in feminism, and his sympathy for the novel's independent, rebellious women, so I decided to read `Main Street', where such issues are obviously much more central. The heroine of `Main Street' is Carol Milford, a lively, intelligent young woman from Minnesota who takes a job in a library in St Paul after graduating from college. She has highbrow tastes and a mildly Bohemian streak, but she's quite ready to settle down when a pleasant young doctor, Will Kennicott, proposes marriage. He lives in a midwest town called Gopher Prairie, and the rest of the novel (which manages to be intensely absorbing even though not much actually happens in it) charts her growing dissatisfaction with the narrowness and cliquiness of small town life.

Another reviewer (on briefly mentions links with George Eliot's `Middlemarch' and that connection struck me too. Carol's enthusiasm for architecture links her with Middlemarch's heroine, Dorothea Brooke, who is interested in designing better houses for her neighbours' tenants. Carol is equally full of ideas for improving the buildings of Gopher Prairie, none of them terribly practical. But Carol is not like Dorothea in every respect. She may be intelligent, earnest, keen to help others - and to improve their houses. However she is also rather vain, very interested in clothes, enjoys being the centre of attention, and is married to a youngish doctor rather than to an elderly clergyman. In other words she is as much like Middlemarch's anti-heroine, selfish, frivolous Rosamond Vincy, as she is like Dorothea.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Depressing but a great book.
Don't start this book if you're feeling a little down. The weight of oppression it evokes is so real. In some ways the characters are very modern, in others very much not so. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars main street
already done report on this item so why does it keep coming up to reply my wife says its a good book
Published 11 months ago by tony
4.0 out of 5 stars A thoroughly good read...
City girl marries boondocks medical doctor and confronts the failings of Smallsville. Wonderfully descriptive, you can imagine being there with the author.
Published 14 months ago by Mike
4.0 out of 5 stars 'That's what I'll do after college! I'll get my hands on one of these...
When idealistic young graduate Carol Milford - disenchanted with her career in a city library - consents to marry Dr Kennicott and move out to the small town of Gopher Prairie, she... Read more
Published 16 months ago by sally tarbox
5.0 out of 5 stars A seed of liberty
For Sinclair Lewis, his country is `a hope that is boundless. What is its future? A future of cities and factory smut? Homes universal and secure? Read more
Published on 4 Aug 2009 by Luc REYNAERT
1.0 out of 5 stars Excruciatingly dull novel that has notabel literary merit
MAIN STREET is considered Lewis's Song of Songs, or his masterpiece. Being a writer, if this was my ultimate achievement, I would be thoroughly depressed and forsake writing and... Read more
Published on 17 Oct 2007 by Mike London
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