[Reading] ➽ Babbitt Author Sinclair Lewis – Saudionline.co.uk



10 thoughts on “Babbitt

  1. says:

    The Success of FailureBabbitt is perhaps the first comic novel of mid life crisis It shows Lewis at his most Dickens like, creating prototypical American characters that live on in cultural mythology The issue is this How does an imperfect male human being, knowing his flaws only too well, make his way in an equally flawed society without sacrificing either his own integrity or his ability to participate in that society Lewis answer Essentially he can t Everything is irrational compromise Plato s Socrates came to the same conclusion in the Republic It is also the inevitability posed by Camus in his letters It was the third century Christian theologian Tertullian who came up with the most precise formulation Credo quia absurdum est, I believe in it because it is absurd Babbitt s middle class American life is an absurdity That he comes to terms with this absurdity is his, and our, only hope Highly recommended as literary therapy during the reign of Donald Trump or to understand where Philip Roth finds much of his inspiration.


  2. says:

    It always amazes me how human nature does not change This book was written in and about the 1920 s but except for some anachronistic language, could have been written today This was also a fun glimpse at Prohibition era America Lewis was spot on in many of his characterizations and was an astute observer of human nature.This should be on a list of books that everyone should read.


  3. says:

    Book Circle Reads 55Rating 4 of fiveThe Publisher Says Prosperous and socially prominent, George Babbitt appears to have everything But when a personal crisis forces the middle aged real estate agent to reexamine his life, Babbitt mounts a rebellion that jeopardizes everything he values Widely considered Sinclair Lewis greatest novel, this satire remains an ever relevant tale of an individual caught in the machinery of modern life.An even better sales copy is on the Buns and Nubile edition s jacket In the small midwestern city of Zenith, George Babbitt seems to have it all a successful real estate business, a devoted wife, three children, and a house with all the modern conveniences Yet, dissatisfied and lonely, he s begun to question the conformity, consumerism, and competitiveness of his conservative, and ultimately cultureless middle class community His despairing sense that something, many things are missing from his life leads him into a flirtation with liberal politics and a fling with an attractive and seemingly bohemian widow But he soon finds that his attempts at rebellion may cost than he is willing to pay The title of Sinclair Lewis s 1922 satire on American materialism added a new word to our vocabulary Babbittry has come to stand for all that s wrong with a world where the pursuit of happiness means the procurement of things a world that substitutes stuff for soul Some twenty years after Babbitt s initial success, critics called Lewis dated and his fiction old fashioned But these judgments have come to seem like wishful thinking With Babbitry evident all around us, the novel is relevant than ever.My Review This was a book circle read from the 1990s That wasn t my first time reading the book, and it s well worth re reading even now Poor Babbitt, saddled with that horrible word as an epitaph Even in Auntie Mame, the most effervescent and light hearted of romps, Mame excoriates Patrick by by calling him a beastly, Babbitty snob And yes, George starts out that way, Babbitty and shallow and consumerist and uncultured and jingoistic He flirts with enlightenment, though, lest we forget He grows and changes in his inner life throughout the novel The implication of calling someone Babbitty or referring to cutural Babbittry presupposes they can t or won t change, and that s what the novel is about My mother, whose copy I read, told me it was about how middle aged men go crazy and run off the rails.I wonder.But in this specific day and time, this horrible moment when CEOs make over 1000 times what the people who do the work earn, this book is a must read This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


  4. says:

    Well, if that s what you call being at peace, for heaven s sake just warn me before you go to war, will you Well, Babbitt is the American idea at peace And it constitutes a warning that we should be taking seriously Either my memory is getting and nostalgic, or Sinclair Lewis nailed it over and over again, in the same frustrating way Atwood and Orwell did by seeing the ugliness before it existed to its full extent Beware of good natured American ambition It s a killer And beware even of its twin, American morality It s a sinner Let us be warned, for Lewis got it right.


  5. says:

    Given that Babbitt was published in 1922, I expected to travel back in time and experience life of the 1920s I expected to be transported to a different era I expected to be greeted by a foreign world And, instead, I mostly felt firmly planted in modern day Yes, it is true that the language and manner of speaking is different It s by golly this and by gosh that But, the themes and all of the satire still speak to the human experience of modern day And in that way, I found the novel to be surprisingly contemporary.Sinclair Lewis takes a critical look at the life of a white middle aged man in small town America, and makes fun of just about everything one could possibly make fun of The futile one up manship The desire to fit in The attempts and failures of self control The pretentiousness The hypocrisy The lack of individual thought The intense conformity And through it all, a pervading sense of insecurity, uneasiness, and boredom Is this all that life has to offer Even though Sinclair Lewis clearly uses Babbitt as his primary vehicle for satire throughout the entire novel, he simultaneously made Babbitt a complete and full fledged character A believable human character, and not an absurd caricature, which is what tends to happen in satires I found Babbitt to be a likeable character, an endearing one, for despite all of his flaws and all of his unhappiness with middle class, suburban life, Babbitt always seemed to have an optimism about him, a certain childlike innocence He never despaired He had his moments of pure joy And I loved that about him.The satire in this novel was perfect I couldn t count the number of times I laughed while reading this book And when I say that the satire was perfect, I mean, it was funny, real, and relatable in a way that you could laugh at yourself if you saw yourself in Babbitt The satire was not biting or caustic, because when satire is overly harsh, it doesn t work as a vehicle for social change When it is overly harsh, you are just laughing at other people That s just mean, and they aren t necessarily going to change just because you are laughing at them If you see any bit of yourself in whatever is being satirized and the satire is too harsh, you end up staunchly defending yourself rather than laughing and being open minded to change If the point of satire is to nudge us to change ourselves, to allow us to see how ridiculous we are, then it can t be overly harsh And from that point, I thought Babbitt as a satire was perfect in allowing us to laugh at ourselves.


  6. says:

    This is a love hate thing In Sinclair Lewis s previous novel Main Street there is love than hate and in Babbitt it s the other way round He does hate George Babbitt for all his boorishness, his complacency, his wretched kneejerk reactionary rightwing politics, his pallid marriage, his blaring friends, his ridiculous slang, his stupid stupidity, but by the end, by the time George has been pulled through a couple of hedges backwards, you can see he loves him a bit too This novel is about two things the horribleness of American material acquisitive claustrophobic class ridden unfettered capitalist life and George Babbitt s miserable crisis at age 46 and how he goes off the rails and gets back on them.A REGULAR GUY Of a decent man in Zenith it was required that he should belong to one, preferably two or three, of the innumerable lodges and prosperity boosting lunch clubs to the Rotarians, the Kiwanis, or the Boosters to the odd Fellows, Moose, Masons, Red Men, Woodmen, Owls, Eagles, Maccabees, Knights of Pythias It was the thing to do.This novel features several frankly overdetailed satirical descriptions of these hearty braying get togethers As we wend our way to the middle of the novel we have still not detected much of a plot, just a whole lot of fun being made of old George Eventually it dawns on him he isn t happy We are not short of tales of drab regular guys trying to bust out of their straightjacketed lives Pennies from Heaven by Dennis Potter Freedom by Jonathan FranzenThe movie American BeautyAnd Updike, Ford, Roth, on and on Guys love this stuff Babbitt is Mr Midlife Crisis 1921 Sinclair Lewis loves to tell us just how sad George s life has been, in spite of all his hectic capering jolly boosterism In twenty three years of married life he had peered uneasily at every graceful ankle, every soft shoulder in thought he had treasured them but not once had he hazarded respectability by adventuring.The grim realities are summed up in this devastating sentence about his wife For years she had been bored by anything affectionate than a farewell kiss, and yet she was hurt by any slackening in his irritable periodic interestNow that s a gut punch for you Irritable brilliant HOW GEORGE GOT MARRIEDIt happened by accident He palled around with this fellow student Of love there was no talk between them And Myra was distinctly a Nice Girl one didn t kiss her, one didn t think about her that way at all unless one was going to marry her But she was a dependable companion And he find out to his horror that she assumes they are engaged And he doesn t have the heart to say they aren t or that he doesn t love her How horrible WHAT FUNSinclair Lewis can zing some devastating lines when you aren t expecting it He accepted Overbrook s next plaintive invitation, for an evening two weeks off A dinner two weeks off, even a family dinner, never seems so appalling, till the two weeks have astoundingly disappeared and one comes dismayed to the ambushed hour.He wandered home and found his wife radiant with the horrified interest we have in the tragedies of our friends TWO THINGS ABOUT THE 1920SThey thought drunk driving was not a problem With his other faculties blurred he yet had the motorist s gift of being able to drive when he could scarcely walkAnd They had young female manicurists working in men s barber parlors I thought that was strange So guys had their nails done after they had a shave haircut I don t think guys do that any TWO THINGS SINCLAIR LEWIS DID NOT TELL MEWhen old George Babbitt does find himself a lady friend, I could not figure if we were supposed to assume the relationship was merely platonic a lot of drinking and dancing, a little bit of kissing or something I was frustrated Tell me, Sinclair And all these white middle class types loved jazz and cocked a snook at longhaired music classical But were they listening to Fletcher Henderson or Paul Whiteman the black originals or the white ripoff merchants The musicologist in me wanted to know GEORGE S EPIPHANY It was coming to him that perhaps all life as he knew it and vigorously practiced it was futile that heaven was neither probable nor very interesting that he hadn t much pleasure out of making money that it was of doubtful worth to rear children merely that they might rear children who would rear children THE WRAP UPSinclair Lewis wrote four Big Ones Main Street it exhausted me but I finally did love it , Babbitt, Elmer Gantry I saw the movie what a brilliant performance by Burt Lancaster and It Can t Happen Here about a fascist takeover of the USA sounds interesting Well, that s four big ones than a lot of novelists I could think of In the end, although Babbitt was a pain in the neck a lot of the time, and there was way too much laughing at the zoo animals about it, I ended up finding just enough compassion in it for a final four stars But I m not sure I m recommending it to you goodreaders I don t think you d come back and thank me.


  7. says:

    Babbitt reminds me of Pink Floyd s Comfortably Numb we spin a cocoon of becoming around ourselves and go about our lifebut as time goes by the cocoon is not transformative, but binding At some point in everyone s life the cocoon of what we wanted to become becomes the web that traps who we are For most of us Comfortably Numb sneaks up through the decades only then do we realize our butterfly summer passed by us long ago.


  8. says:

    I don t think there was anyone in the 1920s who would have believed that this book would be completely forgotten By all accounts, it was destined to be a classic critical novel of the American experience You can t read anything about the 20s and 30s that doesn t comment on Babbitt sold 130,000 copies its first year, HL Mecken loved it, it won Lewis a Nobel Prize Calling someone a Babbitt was considered an insult and the phrase became a constant topic of conversation in the media and literature.Yet, here we are 80 years later, and you ve probably never heard of the term or the book Even English and history teachers pretend it doesn t exist I don t know why, it s insightful and funny Perhaps it s because the biting satire of American suburban middle class life cuts deeper now than it did then We prefer the glamour of Fitzgerald s jazz age to the notion that the American Dream is often pursued and achieved with painful earnestness by unaware buffoons than anyone else.The book is a little tough to get into at first because of the 20s style newspaper speak, but get through it it s worth it It doesn t matter if the book is old or out of style, at its core it s about the fight against conformity and a critique of what Thoreau called the life of quiet desperation It s as timely as ever, as far I m concerned.


  9. says:

    How I loved reading this book The husque style in which it is told It a twenties story but actually very actual about a middleclass estate agent who is confronted with midlife crisis and something as a burnout He wants to be popular, wants to do everything for it His social staus is very important for him and his wife But he climbs high and falls low and then understands that only self relevation is the answer to life The book never becomes dull You have to laugh with Babbitt s trying to please everyone and his aching for a high social status It s often hilarious but also you sometimes feel sorry for him It s a great book One of my favourites.


  10. says:

    The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction formerly the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel has long been one of the most respectable and important accolades in American literature It is, as we all know, awarded to the greatest literature in the eyes of the jury produced by an American author in the preceding year Always has been But the definition of great literature has changed a little over time, not just when it comes to vague perceptions, but even as regards explicit definitions For example, in the 1920s, the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel was defined specifically, and uncontroversially, as being for the American novel published during the year which shall best present the wholesome atmosphere of American life, and the highest standard of American manners and manhood. That definition is why Lewis seventh novel, Main Street, despite being selected by the Pulitzer jury, was refused the prize which went instead to the the less controversial The Age of Innocence It s why Lewis, when his ninth novel, Arrowsmith, was finally offered the award, refused it in protest And it s a pithy summation of everything that compelled Lewis to write his eight, and best selling, novel, Babbitt EDIT turns out it s also why Babbitt in turn was selected by the jury but disqualified for unwholesomeness by the board That time the prize went to Cather s One of Ours instead It s why it was controversial And it s why it was a publishing phenomenon It s why he won the Nobel Prize, and perhaps it s part of why he s steadily being forgotten Sinclair Lewis was an insurgent in a war that ended long ago It s not entirely clear whether he won.For context, by the way Lewis created a new genre and style of literature, he won the Nobel, and he sold a shitload of copies two of his novels were the 1 best selling novels of their year, a third was 2, and Babbitt itself haunted the top ten for two years in a row getting its own dictionary entry in the process Sinclair Lewis was to the 1920s what Gabriel Garc a M rquez and Tom Clancy would have been to the 1980s if they had been the same person This was a generation s One Hundred Years of Solitude and its Clear and Present Danger all rolled into one.And you can read my meandering review of it over on my blog.For those who don t have the time or energy to wade through that, here are some pros and consPRO it s a highy informative, exhaustively researched, all encompassing and painstakingly of the second survey of life in America in 1920 the extent to which it mirrors and foreshadows modern life, not only in general outline but in many details, is genuinely unsettling and depressing its an aggressive satire that is reliably amusing and occasionally hilarious both intentionally and unintentionally, its use of 1920 slang and idiom is itself amusing, as well as fascinating, and perfectly fits its portrait of a swell and zippy he America manic with pep, zing, zest and zow it may be the Ur Text of the modern Literary Novel genre it is at times, particularly in the second half, an affecting presentation of bourgeois anomie, anxiety, and captivity, as well as of existential dreadCON it may be the Ur Text of the modern Literary Novel genre It takes nothing happening to an artform Little exciting occurs, and most of that is in the second half if it were a fantasy novel, you d say the author was obsessed with worldbuilding and that the plot was hijacked by self indulgent travelogue 80% of the novel could be removed without greatly damaging the whole since it is so of its second, between the slang and the fine nuances of social expectations in 1920, much of the impact of the novel has long since been lost Lewis, Nobel aside, is not a particularly fine writer, in technical terms He attempts a wry irony in the style of a Wodehouse or a Cabell, but isn t as good at it as they were, and he errs too often on the side of prolixity I recently read Cabell s Jurgen, which covers much of the same ground with a similar style but in a fantasy setting, and which I suspect Lewis took as a model for Babbitt in some ways but the older novel is both funnier and better than its social realist nephew he has, in particular, the grace and refinement of a jackhammer, and his approach to satirical irony is much like the approach to fine dining taken by a contestant in a no holds barred hotdog eating contest Obvious jokes barbs are machine gunned at the reader at an unyielding pace, and then repeated, and then explained, just to make sure you can t possibly fail to understand the meaning Occasionally one hits the target often, the reader can appreciate the simple yet filling meat by product and yet the sheer onslaught of it while grimly, freakishly, impressive in its way rather detracts from the reader s enjoyment of any particular biteThe result was something I enjoyed much than I was expecting to because it is funny and it does get interesting as you go on , but less than I wanted to because Lewis intent in this book could have been executed much succesfully It is, however, a book that will stay with me by the end, the genteel, all swallowing fury of its satire has swelled to such a proportion that it is perhaps the perfect representation of vacuous modernity how is a book able to be so exactly of its own particular moment and at the same time so continually applicable now if only it had been able to present itself in the form of a compelling novelIn the end, Babbitt is a novel that deserves its place in history, and deserves, and will reward, readers with an interest in its era On the other hand, to continue to put this on lists of the greatest novels of all time, as some do, is surely to betray a lack of knowledge of the breadth and heights of literature To put it briefly if you want to only read good books that aren t a waste of time to read, you can certainly defend putting Babbitt on your list, particularly if you are interested either in its era or its themes, or if you are interested in the history of literature But you could also certainly defend not having it on such a list, because other than as part of a history project it s not exactly a must read In the early 1920s, Americans added the prefix he to words to indicate admiration and general awesomeness Great literature, for instance, was real he literature, a nice cup of coffee might be a real he coffee An advertising spiel telling people to learn martial arts with one simple trick discovered by a Zenith housewife if they want to be he men would be a real he advertisement This might seem absurd, ridiculous, laughable until you go back and read the terms of the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel


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Babbitt download Babbitt, read online Babbitt, kindle ebook Babbitt, Babbitt 43afe3d813f5 Babbitt Is Set In The Modern Midwestern City Of Zenith George F Babbitt, A Year Old Real Estate Broker, Enjoys All The Modern Conveniences Available To A Prosperous Middle Class Businessman, Yet He Is Dissatisfied With His Life When The Novel Opens, Babbitt Has Begun To Regularly Indulge In Fantasies About A Fairy Girl Who Makes Him Feel Like A Gallant YouthBabbitt S Closest Friend Paul Riesling Is Even Dissatisfied With His Life He Is Also Vocal About It Riesling And Babbitt Try To Ameliorate Their Dissatisfaction By Taking A Vacation In Maine Together, But Their Enjoyment At Their Newfound Freedom Is Short Lived They Eventually Have To Return To Their Lives As Middle Aged Married Men Both Men Experience A Growing Impulse To Rebel Against Social Conventions