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Main Street [Download] ➵ Main Street ➾ Sinclair Lewis – Sinclair Lewis's barbed portrait of Gopher Prairie Minnesota shattered the myth of the American Middle West as God's Country and became a symbol of the cultural narrow mindedness and smug complacency Sinclair Lewis's barbed portrait of Gopher Prairie Minnesota shattered the myth of the American Middle West as God's Country and became a symbol of the cultural narrow mindedness and smug complacency of small towns everywhere At the center of the novel is Carol Kennicott the wife of a town doctor who dreams of initiating social reforms and introducing art and literature to the community The range of reactions to Main Street when it was published in was extraordinary reflecting the ambivalence in the novel itself and Lewis's own mixed feelings about his hometwon of Sauk Centre Minnesota the prototype for Gopher PrairieFor than seventy years Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English speaking world With than  titles Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors as well as up to date translations by award winning translators.

About the Author: Sinclair Lewis

Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create with wit and humor new types of characters His works are known for their insightful and critical views of American capitalism and materialism between the wars He is also respected for his strong characterizations of modern working women HL Mencken wrote of him If the.

10 thoughts on “Main Street

  1. Paul Bryant Paul Bryant says:

    On page 25 I thought – this guy is brilliantOn page 50 I thought – this guy is exhaustively brilliantOn page 100 I thought – I’m exhaustedOn page 150 I thought – I’ll never get out of this novel aliveOn page 200 I thought – so who knew there could be so much DETAIL about every last possible aspect of one teensy Minnesotan town lodged inside the Tardis like head of Sinclair Lewis?On page 213 my eye fell upon this It’s the worst defeat of all I’m beaten By Main Street I must go on But I can’tSurprisingly Godotesue and I imagine many readers of this large opus nodding their heads and smiling grimlyOn page 350 I thought – you know I think the plot is picking up a little bit If I’m reading this right two things have actually happened in the last 70 pages THE DIRENESS OF SMALL TOWNSWell that’s what this novel is ALL about “Tell you Carrie there’s just three classes of people folks that haven’t got any ideas at all; the cranks that kick about everything; and Regular Guys the fellows with sticktuitiveness that boost and get the world’s work done”It what's so bad about a small town is a sluggishness of speech and manners a rigid ruling of the spirit by the desire to appear respectable It is contentmentthe contentment of the uiet dead who are scornful of the living of the restless walking It is the prohibition of happiness It is negation canonised as the one positive virtue It is slavery self taught and self defended It is dullness made God There’s a point on page 249 where Sinclair is ONCE again recounting how much his heroine hates Gopher Prairie and kind of breaks down into a general jeremiad without even trying to put his thoughts into her mind He just starts foaming and ranting The universal similarity – that is the physical expression of the philosophy of dull safety Nine tenths of American small towns are so alike that it is the completest boredom to wander from one to the other Always there is the same lumber yard the same railroad station the same Ford garage the same creamery the same etc etc for a long paragraph THE VICIOUS GOSSIP OF SMALL TOWNS “Have you heard the scandal about this Miss Mullins and Cy Bogart?”“I’m sure it is a lie”“Oh it probably is” Maud’s manner indicated that the falsity of the story was an insignificant flaw in its general delightfulness DIALECT NOT A GOOD IDEA “Vell so you come to town”“Ya Ay get a yob”Vellyou got a fella now?”“Ya Yim Yacobsen”“Vell I’m glat to see you How much you vant a veek?”“Sex dollar”“There ain’t nobody pay dat Vait Dr Kennicott I t’ink he marry a girl from de Cities Maybe she pay dat Vell You go take a valk” Authors don’t do this You are giving the impression that anyone who speaks with an accent is tuppence short of a shillingAMY ADAMS FOR CAROL I’D SAYThis is a novel about a perky and by all accounts fairly drop dead young woman named Carol who marries a guy who is a country doctor and is so eyejabbingly tedious that I was surprised she was still alive at the end of one year of marriage when there was in the small town of Gopher Prairie a full supply of sharp agricultural implements guns with live ammo and even a couple of four storey buildings which would surely bust your neck should you spring from their topsShe sashays into the her hubby's home town with grand but vague ideas of improving it Well you know that expression don't let the bastards grind you down? Turns out the bastards live in Gopher Springs Whole town is full of them This is a novel where the idea is like James Joyce said with Ulysses that if Dublin burned to the ground they could rebuild it by consulting his book In this case it’s all small towns in the north of the USA and all the interiors of every building every suare inch of Minnesota is gone over with utter thoroughnessI LIKE A GOOD LISTSinclair Lewis is very big on lists Fur coats fur caps fur mittens overshoes buckling almost to the laces grey knitted scarves ten feet long thick woollen socks canvas jackets lineed with yellow wool like the plumage of ducklings moccasins red flannel wristlets for the blazing chapped wrists of boysThe Commercial Club banuet and the Minniemashie House an occasion for menus printed in gold but injudiciously proof read for free cigars soft damp slabs of Lake Superior whitefish served as fillet of sole drenched cigar ashes gradually filling the saucers of coffe cups and oratorical references to Pep Punch Go Vigour Enterprise Red Blood He Men Fair Women God’s Country James J Hill the Blue Sky the Green Fields the Bountiful Harvest Increasing Population Fair Return on Investments Alien Agitators who Threaten the Security of our Institutions the Hearthstone the Foundation of the State Senator Knute Nelson One Hundered Per Cent Americanism and Pointing with PrideWhen you follow a character into a room in Main Streetyou are lucky to escape without a complete inventory of furnishings and fixturesThe trouble is that often grinding down poor Carol becomes indistinguishable from grinding down the poor reader Sinclair Lewis falls into the trap that John Lennon did in his primal scream phase say on Cold Turkey and Mother In his case it was yelling and moaning about what psychic pain he was in In this case it’s boring us half to death in protest about the psychological suffocation anyone with half a brain will suffer in these innumerable burgs Cries of “All right already” and “You’ve already said that twenty five times Mr Lewis” may be heard escaping involuntarily from the reader’s pursing lips TWO MORE MOANERS1 Surely a direct descendant of Main Street is Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon also located in Minnesota Yes GK paints his town with a wry avuncular affection but in his first novel GK has his stand in denounce Lake Wobegon remarkably bitterly in terms Sinclair Lewis would have thought he’s written except that GK is funnier These come in a passage called 95 Theses 95 Here’s three examples You have subjected me to endless boring talk about the weather regularity back problems and whether something happened in 1938 or 1939 insisting that I sit uietly and listen to every wordHow's it going with you? you said Oh about the same you replied Cold enough for you? It was always cold always about the sameYou have taught me to value a good night's sleep over all else including adventures of love and friendship and even when the night is charged with magic to be sure to get to bed If God had not meant everyone to be in bed by ten thirty He would never have provided the ten o'clock newscastYou have provided me with poor male role models including the Sons of Knute the Boosters Club and others whose petulance inertia and ineptitude are legendary I was taught to respect them men who clung to tiny grudges for decades and were devoted to vanity horsefeathers small potatoes not travel but the rites of trunk loading and map reading and gas mileage; not faith but the Building Committee; not love but supper2 Bizarrely I could not but think of Thomas Bernhardt whose legendary hatred of his own country Austria is poured forth in novel after novel Main Street is in the same ball park Except there’s no love in Austria IMMERSIVE NOVELSAre not read for the plot but for the forensic detail of lives lived Because of that they run the risk of boring us rigid; they’re the slow heavy beasts the dray horses of literature – The Old Wives’ Tale and A House for Mr Biswas; and now Main Street The whole thing is in the immense accretion of detail They have to win you over Main Street won me over In the end I loved it Whew Ain’t going to read another Sinclair Lewis novel any time soon but yeah

  2. Lori Lori says:

    Sinclair Lewis explores his love and hate of small midwestern American towns as women's fiction

  3. Duane Duane says:

    This was Lewis first novel published in 1920 and it was a huge success both critically and commercially It made him a rich man and launched a career that would include the Nobel Prize for literature in 1930 Lewis felt that Main Street should have won the Pulitzer Prize in 1921 but was edged out by Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence It so incensed Lewis that when he did win it in 1925 for Arrowsmith he refused to accept the awardMain Street was the first major novel that featured small town America and the public loved it While his contemporaries Fitzgerald Hemingway and Wharton were writing about New York and Paris and the upper crust aristocracy Lewis focused on the heartland Willa Cather probably came as close to Lewis as anyone in capturing the essence of the period and the people in the expanding Midwest

  4. Alex Alex says:

    A bomb to blow up smugness is what one woman hopefully calls her child in Sinclair Lewis's broadside attack on mainstream America and that's surely what this book isI didn't know a book can be uiet and bombastic at the same time but Lewis has written it It covers just over a decade in Carol Milford's life as her dreams are repeatedly drowned She comes to Main Street America with grand plans to mean something in a dimly socialist way Main Street is having none of itLewis has a message It's about socialism and it joins Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath as one of the few socialist novels that aren't terrible And it's about accepting difference class struggle and than anything feminism He's trying to create a feminist hero here He gets a little heavy handed about it at times but just a little It's not enough to make this less than a five star book; it's just enough to keep it off my top Novels Written For Grown Ups list Ishiguro's Remains of the Day is tighterThe message here has something in common with Middlemarch Here's Eliot's thing right?The effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life and rest in unvisited tombs And here's Carol MilfordI may not have fought the good fight but I have kept the faithShe had fancied that her life might make a story She knew that there was nothing heroic or obviously dramatic in it no magic of rare hours nor valiant challenge but it seemed to her that she was of some significance because she was commonplaceness the ordinary life of the age made articulate and protestingThese are characters who find fulfillment in making it through a real life with a semblance of self respect That's grown up stuff I mean not that I'd know but that's what I hear from old peopleWhich I mean the danger of an unexceptional life is that it makes boring reading and one criticism of Main Street has been that it's plotless I get that but I think it's a narrow definition of plot I thought of Madame Bovary while reading this because they're both intimate looks at dissatisfied women by men who don't totally get it; that book has the dramatic events people are missing here But I think it's a worthy achievement to pull off a novel without the help of big pageturning drama and I think Lewis has done itTo his credit Lewis doesn't make anyone an obvious archetype Carol is his hero but she's flighty changing a pain in the ass A lesser writer might have written her husband as an oppressor but Kendicott is a terrific guy his ambitions are different than hers but he does his very best Even the terrible ladies of Main Street have depth and shadingMain Street is often funny It's brilliantly written just in terms of making sentences Sinclair Lewis is gorgeous It's much less obvious than it could have been but still a bit thudding here and there It's feminist without totally getting womenIt was a smash hit when it was published somewhat surprisingly given its full frontal attack on half the country but then that's sortof the point of Main Street we all live on it but many of us consider ourselves smugly above itps Years later I tried to convince my wife that a great middle name for our kid would be Bomb To Blow Up Smugness She disagreed

  5. Ahmad Sharabiani Ahmad Sharabiani says:

    Main Street Sinclair LewisMain Street is a satirical novel written by Sinclair Lewis and published in 1920 Satirizing small town life Main Street is perhaps Sinclair Lewis's most famous book and led in part to his eventual 1930 Nobel Prize for Literature It relates the life and struggles of Carol Milford Kennicott in the small town of Gopher Prairie Minnesota as she comes into conflict with the small town mentality of its residents Main Street ‬‏‫‭ the story of Carol Kennicott Sinclair Lewis ‏‫‬‭New York‏‫‬‭ Panter Books‏‫‬‭ 1961‏‫‭ 1340 445 Pagesتاریخ نخستین خوانش سال 1972 میلادیعنوان خیابان اصلی؛ نویسنده س‍ی‍ن‍ک‍ل‍ر ل‍وی‍س‌؛هری سینکلر لوئیس زاده روز هفتم ماه فوریه سال 1885 میلادی درگذشته به روز دهم ماه ژانویه سال 1951 میلادی رمان نویس، داستان‌نویس و نمایش نامه نویس آمریکایی بودند ایشان نخستین آمریکایی بودند که موفق شدند نوبل ادبیات را به دست آورند «خیابان اصلی» عنوان یک رمان طنز است که توسط «سینکلر لوئیس» نوشته شده، و در سال 1920 منتشر شده است «خیابان اصلی» ممکن است مشهورترین کتاب «سینکلر لوئیس» باشد که شاید انتشار آن به جایزه ی نهایی نوبل ادبیات در سال 1930 میلادی منجر شد داستان زندگی و مبارزات «کارول میلفورد کنیکوت» در شهر کوچک «گوفر پریری»، مینسوتا را بازگو میکند، هنگامی که او با ذهنیت شهر و ساکنانش درگیر میشود ا شربیانی

  6. Chrissie Chrissie says:

    I definitely liked this book and recommend it to others There is so much to think about; it can be discussed from many different angles So what are its topics? First of all life in small towns versus life in cities This is what the book is said to be about Love is another theme It is not a soppy love story though Maturing becoming an adult figuring out how to live in a real world not a world of only idealistic dreams It is about growing up not the teen years but the years after that Figuring out who you are and how you are going to live your life and how you are going to meld dreams with reality It is about relationships It is about women's rights and all individuals’ need for fulfillment And it’s about appreciating culture and art and the value of beauty Yeah it’s about friendship too I guess I could keep adding to the listFor me what I liked best about the book is that opposing views are fairly portrayed You see the pluses and the minuses of both sides It comes down to this What do you do when husband and wife don't want to live in the same place? Is one wrong and the other right? How do you compromise so both can live a satisfying life? You have one life; you have to be satisfied with that one life More than just being satisfied you have to like itThis is a great book for group reads Views will certainly diverge Lots to discuss Debate I am sure will be lively So why only three stars? It should have been tightened Parts drag A third couldshould have been eliminated not particularly in the beginning nor at the end but throughout I came to understand both the husband's and the wife's and their friends' views perfectly Fewer examples could surely have been given The narration of the audiobook by Brian Emerson was fine but you do know what that really means It means that while I didn't love it I have no serious complaints The narrator almost sings the words You could say I didn't like the melody I wish he had just plain read the words Still I understood everything and the speed was perfect The narration is not a reason to avoid the audiobook I just didn't love itI must say I was hesitant to read this I love life out in the country but I do know how petty small towns' folk can behave I also love life in a big city I value art and culture and design and beauty Beauty has value I was unsure if both sides could in an unbiased and fair manner be accurately drawnThis book was published in 1920 and the author received the Nobel Prize in 1930 He was in fact the first US recipient Sinclair Lewis was way ahead of his time The book doesn’t feel dated I think this is because human needs then and now are the same even if societal standards and circumstances have changed

  7. BAM The Bibliomaniac BAM The Bibliomaniac says:

    Classics Cleanup Challenge #11Audio #159I didn’t like all of the arguing For some reason it really upset me

  8. Kim Kim says:

    I was dimly aware of Sinclair Lewis but completely unfamiliar with his work when I read John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley In Search of America a couple of years ago Steinbeck who admired Lewis wanted to find his way from St Paul to Sauk Centre Lewis' Minnesota hometown and the town on which the fictional location of this novel Gopher Prairie is based He recounts his conversation with a waitress in a diner who gave him directions to the town They got a sign up I guess uite a few folks come to see it It does the town some good The diner's cook volunteered that he didn't think what's his name was there any Steinbeck recollected how negatively Sauk Centre had reacted to Lewis and to Main Street when it was published in 1920 and commented Now he's good for the town Brings in some tourists He's a good writer now The way Sauk Centre embraced Sinclair Lewis is similar to the way in which the Salinas Valley embraced Steinbeck after its initial hugely negative reaction to the publication of The Grapes of WrathA reader's response to this novel and in particular to its main character will depend to a large extent on their experience of and feelings towards life in a small town Did you grow up in a small town or now live in one and absolutely love it? Then you'll probably dislike Carol Kennicott a young librarian who in 1912 marries a dull but competent doctor goes to live in Gopher Prairie and wants to change it and the people who live there Can you imagine nothing worse than living in a place where everyone knows and judges everyone else? Then you'll understand Carol and feel for her even if she also frustrates and annoys you Having spent most of my life in a large city I'm in the latter camp Although I didn't find Carol particularly likeable at least not all the time I responded sympathetically to her Had I been in her situation I would probably have reacted as she didLewis captured all that he saw as negative in small town life and called it Main Street narrow mindedness provincialism bigotry hypocrisy self satisfaction and resistance to change However his portrayal of those who encapsulate those characteristics is not exclusively negative Nor is his portrayal of Carol Kennicott overwhelmingly positive The plot may be rambling the style uneven and the satire and social commentary broad and unsubtle but Lewis' rendering of his central characters is not without nuance In my view that's where much of the strength of the work resides This is one of those works which I'm glad I've read even if it hasn't left me particularly anxious to read of its writer's work A 35 star literary experience with a few 5 star moments

  9. Evan Evan says:

    Small town America Ah the scent of pine The musty ramshackle old hardware store But what is this? Something amiss in one of these romanticized burgs? Something dark and sinister? I never imagined something like this would happen in our town says the half toothless talking head on the six o'clock news about the murder even though you've seen this very thing happen in small towns 10000 times in your life on the six o'clock news Small town America is supposed to be different somehow; supposed to be better Fuck small town America The real murder is not the cheerleader of Podunkville High who was raped and slain The real murder is something sinister and pervasive not even a loss of innocence because the innocence remains; dazed and confused but always there; always cluelessly upbeat always blaming the wrong causes for its woes The real murder on Main Street America is a suicide; the suicide of small town America; the murder of small town America by its own hands Let the values voters of small town America's Main Street keep on shooting themselves in the foot and dragging the rest of us down with them by electing right wing corporate puppet elites who don't give a tinker's damn about them or anybody else Let the crackerbarrel bigots of Main Street stew in the backwash of their own hate Let Walmart keep grinding into dust their shitty little stores Let the untrammeled free enterprise that you Main Streeters voted for put you out of work Let you pull yourselves up by your bootstraps; the ones caked with McDonald's hamburger grease from the burgers you're now flipping for 5 an hour Let the top 1 percent's mantra reign supreme What's good for us is good for the nation and the world Oh and thank you Main Street America you suckers Let them continue to confuse ignorance for truth faith for knowledge creationism for science heterosexuality as love's exclusive domain poverty for charity hope for ruthlessness Let them believe that theirs is a self righteousness and arrogance earned not by reflection or learning but merely by believing and never budging and by insisting that you are wrong and the God is on their side only Let the red states cover us with their nasty redness When Sinclair Lewis wrote Main Street nearly a century ago now Main Street was thriving the commercial pulse of the nation A veritable galaxy of hubbub dots across the map Lewis did not predict the demise of Main Street in this formidable novel but in capturing its soul a soul bereft of healthy curiosity of a sense of its own promise of a desire to see itself in the bigger picture he tells us how it sowed the seeds of its own destruction and by extension the decline of America Carol Kennicott the city girl with the dreams and ideals of youth the desire to share and to energize the beautiful naivete of a progressive who wants to leave the world a better place than she found it is Main Street's protagonist a lovely soul after my own heart; a woman who wants to put the soul into a soulless place that wants none of it In fact I love love love Carol Kennicott I could read an entire novel in which Carol Kennicott does nothing but prepare a tea service or pick furniture or shop for canned goods Well actually a lot of Main Street seems to be about just that Carol Kennicott fixating on ever tinier rituals within a domestic universe that shrinks to ever smaller dollhouse sized proportions Full of world beating notions out of college and fragrant with a modicum of sophistication Carol marries a decent reliable uninspiring Midwestern doctor from the sticks of Gopher Prairie Minnesota Sold a bill of goods about the goodness of the town the two go off to live there and Carol's dread of being domiciled within it is painfully rewarded with corroborating verification The place is backward banal uietly venal stiflingly tasteless mercilessly moral and hypocritical and deeply suspicious of city girls and city ideas Gopher Prairie exists in the real 1920s; the 1920s of Zane Grey novels not the 1920s of James Joyce or The New Yorker The novel is about Carol's struggle to fit into this place to negotiate between her desires to be individual and to conform to be true to herself or to be popular to reflect credit on her husband while aiming mightily to drag the town kicking and screaming into the 20th century Instead it drags her down into the dusty dregs of conformity Beaten down by homogeneity as a raison d'etre eludes her as higher youthful ideals decompose via bacterial reality Carol becomes a tragic figure; a symbol of spayed pre liberated womanhood a Stepford Wife of the sticks In a reality devoid of greater meaning or purpose her world beating ideas are reduced to finding doilies with patterns that best match those on the sofa armrest Lewis' book is a masterwork too little read by today's readers Main Street takes place in a world that may seem as appealing to engage as an arcane tropical article in a yellowing magazine But its world is essentially unchanged from today The masses were asses then and they are still asses now; just as pliable just as gullible just as lazy just as venal and just as lulled into low expectations It's hardly a piuant or ingenious observation that Sinclair Lewis is unsubtly contemptuous of this rural menagerie but he shoots fish in a barrel with an impressively embroidered firearm He bores deeply into this town this world and this woman's place in itThe thing took me forever to read many months but the effort was worthwhile It's a classic Now go out and canvass for Sarah Palin Whoopeee

  10. Luís Luís says:

    The action of this than 400 page pavement takes place before and shortly after the First World War in a small town in Minnesota called Gopher Prairie and where one might think that Sinclair Lewis has put a lot of his native background For his people and Dr William Kennicott when he describes it to Carol Milford whom he met in St Paul Illinois and whom he dreams of marrying Gopher Prairie is the most beautiful city in the world Deep America A full deep city cheerfully coloured carefully maintained and populated by a small lively cultivated and warm earth And when Carol now Mrs Kennicott actually arrives in Gopher Prairie after their honeymoon in Colorado she strives to see the city as her husband has presented it to her and as he indeed sees it But Carol is an anti conformist born a romantic too who imagines that good intentions new ideas a little youth and immense goodwill will overcome the a priori The idioms and laziness of this small town where sidewalks go up the high street are still in wood as in the time of the pioneers Ready to love Gopher Prairie despite its horror prepared to sympathize sincerely with its inhabitants It will soon realize that all this is difficult than expected; that the good intentions of some are not enough when they clash with conformism and well thought In a tongue in cheek way that allows the reader to take the critical distance sometimes too much perhaps Sinclair Lewis draws here the portrait of a rigorous and stuck American society He was born there lived there then necessarily somewhere he is attached to it But is there not a proverb that says Who likes to chastise well? Here are the pillars of the great relationship to money and social success already held by the Americans of the time worship for a single Bible and an only church fear and contempt for the old continent Where the pioneers came from the terrible empire of the what do we say not specific that one it is true small US cities and a macho and patriarchal vision of the world to which finally though reluctantly Carol will submit It should note that from the beginning Lewis posits as a principle that Carol's sex is an additional burden in the fight she intends to lead

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