Main Street (Paperback)
From the Publisher:
Main Street, by Sinclair Lewis, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
This is Americaa town of a few thousand, in a region of wheat and corn and dairies and little groves.” So Sinclair Lewisrecipient of the Nobel Prize and rejecter of the Pulitzerprefaces his novel Main Street. Lewis is brutal in his depictions of the self-satisfied inhabitants of small-town America, a place which proves to be merely an assemblage of pretty surfaces, strung together and ultimately empty.
Brooke Allen holds a Ph.D. in English literature from Columbia University. She is a book critic whose work has appeared in numerous publications including The Atlantic Monthly, The New Criterion, The New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, The Hudson Review, and The New Leader. A collection of her essays, Twentieth Century Attitudes, will be published in 2003.
Carol Kennicott marries a small-town doctor and moves to Gopher Prairie, Minnesota, hoping that her idealistic belief in social reform can be realized. Instead, she observes firsthand the stifling realities of small town life--cultural narrowness, smugness, petty cruelties--and finds that her marriage can't survive what she learns. Sinclair Lewis's best-selling 1920 novel was controversial in its time because of its gritty refusal to romanticize small-town life--one of America's fondest myths.
"It is not just MAIN STREET'S heroine, who longs to get out of Gopher Prairie; it is the reader as well. And yet this novel, with all its vacillations and ambiguities of artistic purpose, has a reach of greatness to it, a sense of human softness and helpless witness. The popular success of the book derived, my suspicion is..., from the identification of many female readers with the heroine." - John Updike Baltimore Sun
"'Main Street' is being vaselined by the newspaper[s]...and pawed by the women's clubs, not because it happens to be a very competent piece of writing, but simply and solely because it presents an extremely acidulous picture of human existence in a small American town, and thus caresses the vanity of all those who are able to thank God that they do not live in such a town, and are not as Dr. Lewis' folk are....Here, of course, I do not sniff at Herr von Lewis' achievement. On the contrary, I seize the opportunity to say again, as I said a good while back, that 'Main Street' is a very excellent piece of work, boldly imagined and often brilliantly executed....Books as good as 'Main Street' should be admired on a plane above mere prejudices...the cockney should not be so ready to laugh at the poor yokel: he is quite as thumping an ass himself." - H. L. Mencken 01/03/1921