Other Free Encyclopedias » Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern Fiction » Books & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (Ke-Ma)

Lewis, Sinclair

babbitt business street american

(US, 1885–1951)

Lewis, a best-selling satirist of Middle American values between the wars, was the first American to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 1930. In a series of novels, the best known of which are Main Street (1920) and Babbitt (1922), he portrayed the split in America between idealism and materialism, criticizing small-town narrow-mindedness, the business and medical professions, and Americans abroad. In Main Street, Carol Milford's attempt to escape the confines of life in Gopher Prairie ends in her return to her husband, and in Babbitt, George F. Babbitt's rebellion against his family and business colleagues ultimately succumbs to their pressure. Lewis's cynical comedy is well realized in Elmer Gantry (1927), the ever-topical story of an unscrupulous and philandering evangelist whose eloquence turns each threatened exposure to his own advantage.

Sherwood Anderson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ford Madox Ford  JS

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