Babbitt

Babbitt

by Sinclair Lewis
3.8 193

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Overview

Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis

In the fall of 1920, Sinclair Lewis began a novel set in a fast-growing city with the heart and mind of a small town. For the center of his cutting satire of American business he created the bustling, shallow, and myopic George F. Babbitt, the epitome of middle-class mediocrity. The novel cemented Lewis’s prominence as a social commentator.

Babbitt basks in his pedestrian success and the popularity it has brought him. He demands high moral standards from those around him while flirting with women, and he yearns to have rich friends while shunning those less fortunate than he. But Babbitt’s secure complacency is shattered when his best friend is sent to prison, and he struggles to find meaning in his hollow life. He revolts, but finds that his former routine is not so easily thrown over.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451510976
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date: 10/01/1961
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 5.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951) won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1930, the first American novelist to be so honored. He was born in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, the son of a doctor. After an extremely unhappy childhood, he went to Yale but left before graduation to work in Upton Sinclair’s socialist colony at Helicon Hall in Englewood, New Jersey. Unable to make a living as a freelance writer, he returned to Yale and graduated in 1908. In 1914 he published his first novel, Our Mr. Wrenn: The Romantic Adventures of a Gentle Man. But it was not until his sixth novel, Main Street (1920), that he won recognition as an important American novelist, the first to challenge the myth of the happy quintessentially American small town. His major works are Babbitt (1922), Arrowsmith (1925), which won a Pulitzer Prize that Lewis refused to accept, Elmer Gantry (1927), Dodsworth (1929), and It Can’t Happen Here (1935), which he also wrote as a play in 1936. Married and divorced twice, the second time to pioneering newspaperwoman Dorothy Thompson, Lewis was a prolific writer, publishing dozens of books and innumerable articles throughout his career. He died alone in Rome on January 10, 1951, and his ashes were returned to Sauk Centre, the “Main Street” he’d rejected so many decades before but which in death took him back as its own.

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Babbitt 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 193 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Babbitt is a story satirizing the fanciful, ridiculously materialistic lifestyle of an affluent middle-class American, George F. Babbitt, in the 1920s. Babbitt is a haughty businessman who gradually becomes so bored with social parties and an elite lifestyle that he hypocritically partakes in activities and principles he vilifies, such as drinking rampages, liberalism, and blatant infidelity. As the story progresses, Babbitt becomes less and less glued to his conventional and materialistic ideals and through spontaneous realizations and epiphanies, learns to develop treasured family ties and friendships. Lewis focuses on Babbitt¿s life, which is filled with the latest technological inventions, a surplus of money, and a handful of elite friends, yet devoid of meaning. Lewis utilizes Babbitt¿s character and unhappiness with life to portray when humans become obsessed with their social status, they will surrender their own comfort and happiness to advance their place in society. Babbitt is a beautiful masterpiece, honed to sharp precision and programmed to disclose the flagrant hypocrisy and immorality of the esteemed middle-class. When one weaves through Lewis¿s brilliant rhetoric, one will discover the ludicrousness of respected and orthodox American ideals in the early twentieth century. A small problem with Babbitt is that despite its magnificent oratory, it slowly and monotonously drags in certain parts of the novel. At times the language can become cloudy and difficult to comprehend. However, Lewis¿s strong rhetoric shines through these dull moments and successfully leaves a lasting impression on the reader.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Babbitt may be a fictional account, but Sinclair Lewis¿s satire contains a humbling effect for anyone in the American middle-class majority. The story centers on George F. Babbitt, a resident of Zenith City and the epitome of middle-aged businessman, Republican and capitalist in judgment. Throughout the course of the novel, Lewis portrays his message about the dangers of both conformity and trying to break from it through the development of Babbitt as a character. He begins as a highly opinionated and hypercritical real-estate salesman, unable to formulate original biases. As the story progresses, Babbitt realizes his dissatisfaction with the monotony of constant dinner parties, Booster Club meetings, and golf games. As a result, he resorts to such indecencies as drinking (the book is set during the Prohibition era), infidelity, and the most deadly of all sins a socially liberal ideology. From associating himself with the self-titled ¿Bohemian¿ lifestyle of his mistress and the leftist views of strikers in the streets, Babbitt not only incurs the ostracism of his companions, but discovers the Bohemian¿s hypocritical nature through their tedious routine and continuous parallels with the middle-class routine it tries to escape. Lewis¿s critical tale has continued to hold the same relevancy in American culture because of its timeless observations of a universal human tendency. Through the weaving of almost comedic satire into a description of a dull life, the book provides a haunting analysis of the displeasure almost all people feel with where they sit in society.
EagleIDEyes More than 1 year ago
This was my first Sinclair Lewis read. This book does doesn't fall into the category of 'page turner'. Rather, Babbit chronicles the struggles of a typical American father. In this book, there is something that most men could relate to. It was interesting to me to see how timeless some of the principles outlined in this book are. Although the setting is much earlier, the struggles Babbit deals with in his professional and personal life are in one way or the other played out today. Because of the steady even pace of this book, it did take me a while to get through, but I'm glad I did.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A wonderful book. One of my favorites. Sinclair Lewis writes in beautiful vivid language about issues that we tend to think of as unique to our own time, not the least of which is the standardization and homogenization of american culture. Bully!
wookietim More than 1 year ago
I like Lewis's writing, and have read a couple of his books. In this one his opinions come through loud and clear and with the least amount of distraction. Babbit is a wonderful character - worthy of pity and revulsion but also able to be identified with at the same time. You actually kind of cheer for him to change and are sad when he can't quite do that... although the and does show that maybe he has learned a little something at least. And in the end, that is the essence of a great literary character - the fact that he goes through a lot and maybe doesn't change completely but makes a believable step forward.
PAPA-NYC More than 1 year ago
I was concerned that it was going to be too much of a "period book" but the way that Sinclair Lewis shows how "in tune" he was with the male psyche was almost dumbfounding. The book is timeless and enjoyable at almost every page.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In 'Babbitt', Lewis introduces us to George Babbitt, a materialistic, proud man. When tragedy strikes, Babbitt finds himself questioning his very middle-class lifestyle and looking for meaning. An extremely well written book, Lewis mocks the emptiness of middle-class society. Although it takes place in the 1920's it is still true today.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Author, Sinclair Lewis subtly takes us into George F. Babbitt's mind inclusive of his environment. I cannot remember the last time I read such a well written novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She walks in and looks at Phobe
mandomama More than 1 year ago
Babbitt is one book which I reread yearly. I adore Sinclair Lewis as one of America's best authors who captures the essence of American life at the turn of the century.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a superbly written satire on American materialism. Though the technology and language is outdated, George Babbitt's behaviors and actions are much like the members of today's middle-class society.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As American men go, George F. Babbitt, realtor of Zenith, is not particularly good, not notably bad. But he is restless and he grows worse, particularly after his best friend shoots his nagging wife and is sentenced to three years in prison. Babbitt then falls apart, chases women, drinks too much Prohibition era liquor and shows dangerous sympathy for labor unions and a radical local lawyer named Seneca Doane. Babbitt determines to break free and become accountable to no one. But his friends in the Boosters' Club, the Presbyterian Church, the Republican Party and other organizations make it clear that he must either return to being the old predictable, conformist George F. or he will find his business fading to nothing. *** Babbitt then sees the light, hauls himself up and is welcomed back to normalcy as husband, father, businessman, Republican and Booster. In token of atonement offered and accepted, one of his fraternal admirers, while on a trip to Catawba, George's birthplace, discovered the truth about Babbitt's middle initial. The 'F' stood for FOLLANSBEE (the name of the Babbitt family doctor). The once lapsed Babbitt was rebaptized on the spot back where he belonged. *** What fun the broad-minded Boosters had with that revelation of inner weakness before they forgave their Georgie! What name might they have otherwise guessed? *** 'Flivver, they suggested, and Frog-face and Flathead and Farinaceous and Freezone and Flapdoodle and Foghorn. By the joviality of their insults, Babbitt knew that he had been taken back to their hearts ... ' (Ch. 34). 'He knew that he would no more endanger his security and popularity by straying from the Clan of Good Fellows.'
Anonymous 2 days ago
Another wonderful classic that follows a family during the Prohibition years. ~*~LEB~*~
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good actually!.. for now at least How about you?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ok
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wattt??
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She appears, confused.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She walks in wearing a tight red and white striped crop top and navy blue high waisted shorts she looks around for something to do
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She huffs. "Rose, you are making an unnecessary scene. You too Grace."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He looked around. "Huwo"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hello
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She sinks into the couch
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Weelll. I came back
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Goodnight
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She smiles "ok!" She goes to the tv and turns batman on then sits on the couch