Main Street (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) by Sinclair Lewis
By Sinclair Lewis
This can be America: a city of some thousand, in a quarter of wheat and corn and dairies and little groves.” So Sinclair Lewisrecipient of the Nobel Prize and rejecter of the Pulitzerprefaces his novel Main Street. Lewis is brutal in his depictions of the self-satisfied population of small-town the US, a spot which proves to be simply an assemblage of beautiful surfaces, strung jointly and eventually empty.
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But their relationship was a close one for years, and Gracie contributed a great deal to Lewis舗s life and work, not least as the model for Carol Kennicott. Most important, perhaps, she shared his very real hatred for narrow-mindedness and intolerance, a hatred that was one of the driving forces of his life, and she supported him intellectually and emotionally to the best of her abilities. Lewis was making progress in his fiction. His short stories were selling well, and when he was taken on as a regular contributor to the Saturday Evening Post he felt justified in quitting his job in publishing to become a full-time writer.
Whatever she might become she would never be static. Her versatility ensnared her. By turns she hoped to discover that she had an unusual voice, a talent for the piano, the ability to act, to write, to manage organizations. Always she was disappointed, but always she effervesced anew舒over the Student-Volunteers,e who intended to become missionaries, over painting scenery for the dramatic club, over soliciting advertisements for the college magazine. She was on the peak that Sunday afternoon when she played in chapel.
All he really believed in was the wavering, imperfect liberal spirit: 舠Even if Com[munism] & Fax[cism] or both cover the world, Liberal[ism] must go on, seeming futile, preserving civilization,舡 he wrote in his notes for It Can舗t Happen Here (quoted in Lingeman, p. 404). An atheist with no political illusions, two failed marriages, an unconquerable addiction to alcohol, and a moribund talent might be thought to have had every reason to give up in despair. Lewis, to his undying credit, did not.