Babbitt (Bantam Classics)

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9780553214864: Babbitt (Bantam Classics)

When Babbitt was first published in 1922, fans gleefully hailed its scathing portrait of a crass, materialistic nation; critics denounced it as an unfair skewering of the American businessman. Sparking heated literary debate, Babbitt became a controversial classic, securing Sinclair Lewis’s place as one of America’s preeminent social commentators.

Businessman George F. Babbitt loves the latest appliances, brand names, and the Republican Party. In fact, he loves being a solid citizen even more than he loves his wife. But Babbitt comes to resent the middle-class trappings he has worked so hard to acquire. Realizing that his life is devoid of meaning, he grows determined to transcend his trivial existence and search for greater purpose. Raising thought-provoking questions while yielding hilarious consequences, and just as relevant today as ever, Babbitt’s quest for meaning forces us to confront the Babbitt in ourselves—and ponder what it truly means to be an American.

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From the Inside Flap:

Following the critical and commercial success of Main Street, Sinclair Lewis directed his barbs at the American businessman in Babbitt. The central character, George Follansbee Babbitt, is a middle-aged realtor living in Zenith, the Zip City. He is unimaginative, self-important, and hopelessly middle class. Vaguely dissatisfied with his position, he tries to alter the pattern of his life by flirting with liberalism and by having an affair with an attractive widow, only to find that his dread of ostracism is greater than his desire for escape. He does, however, encourage the rebellion of his son, Ted. Lewis's seventh novel defined an American type and gave the language a name for the smug person who readily conforms to middle class standards and conventions.

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“[It is] by its hardness, its efficiency, its compactness that Mr. Lewis’s work excels.”—Virginia Woolf

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