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Dodsworth

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Walter John De La Mare Biography to Hilda Doolittle Biography

a novel by Sinclair Lewis, published in 1929, dramatized by the author and Sidney Howard in 1934. A successful car manufacturer from the Mid-western city of Zenith, Samuel Dodsworth is unhappily married to Fran, a frivolous and pretentious snob. The pair visit Europe where Fran indulges in several flirtations, with an Englishman, Major Clyde Lockert, and in Paris with Arnold Israel. Fed up with this life of indulgence, Sam returns alone to America, but fearful of Fran's safety, rejoins her in Europe. Fran then falls in love with a German aristocrat, Kurt von Obersdorf. With an impending divorce, Sam wanders aimlessly in Europe and meets Edith Cortright, a mature American widow who provides Sam with the companionship and intellectual stimulation he is seeking. Their marriage plans are interrupted when Fran's relationship is thwarted by Kurt's mother, and Sam is persuaded to return to America with his wife. However, recognizing that life with Fran will be intolerable, Sam notifies Edith that he will return to her on the next ship. The novel presents the familiar pattern of Lewis's fiction, wherein somebody glimpses a dream beyond the trivial actualities and stifling customs of daily life, and tries to make it real, with varying degrees of success.

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