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Main Street (Dover Thrift) Paperback – 1 Feb 2000

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications Inc.; New edition edition (1 Feb. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486406555
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486406558
  • Product Dimensions: 20.9 x 13.1 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 885,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER on 27 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
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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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 Oct. 2000
Format: Paperback
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Luc REYNAERT TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 4 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
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? Or placid châteaux ringed with sullen huts? Youth free to find knowledge and laughter? Willingness to sift the sanctified lies? The ancient stale inequalities?'

The answer to these questions lies in the fate of the main character of this book, Carol Milford, a seed of liberty, `a rebellious girl eager to conquer the world - almost entirely for the world's own good.'
But her dreams are blocked by a wall of Puritanism, conservatism, conformism, hypocrisy and egoism, by the Tribal God of Mediocrity, by the arrogance of the power of `Main Street'.
Who occupies `Main Street'? The Churches, `the real heart of the community, the proper center for all educational and pleasurable activities'; also the bankers and the Grand Old Republican Party (`Everybody who doesn't love (it) is an anarchist').
Main Streeters are all those wanting to appear respectable, showing `poverty and chastity in the matter of knowledge.'

Carol Milford `felt that she was being dragged naked down Main Street'. She was `surrounded by wolves, fangs and sneering eyes.' `They beat me with rods of dullness.'
Is her fight for `liberty' successful or will she be beaten ... keeping only the faith?

Read this exemplary US novel about the power of the Moral Majority and its `public opinions'.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Jan. 1999
Format: Paperback
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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