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by Sinclair Lewis
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From Library Journal
First published in 1922, Babbitt is an authentic modern American classic, a biting satire of middle-American values that retains much of its poignancy today. George F. Babbitt, Lewis's outwardly successful but inwardly unhappy real estate salesman, still seems real. His story makes engrossing reading and is ideal for audio listening. With Babbitt himself at the center of every scene, it is impossible for listeners plagued by frequent interruptions to lose track of the story line. Narrator Wolfram Kandinsky has a voice that many listeners may find grating; however, his reading here conveys an appropriate ironic tone that is especially apt when he reads Babbitt's own lines. Recommended for general fiction collections. Kent Rasmussen, Thousand Oaks, CA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Not especially known for its prose style, Sinclair Lewis's art is often based on accumulation; he adds detail to detail until a larger picture sharpens. This classic novel portrays middle-aged George Babbitt and his irreconcilable urges to conform to social standards and to satisfy his deeper inner restlessness. Lewis delineates and satirizes Babbitt's bourgeois nature with small and large data, such as his booster button, his slang ("tux" for "dinner jacket"), his jingoism, his hypochondria, his naive politics, his worries about his clothes. Such a style makes George Guidall's measured narration a bit inappropriate--Guidall's deliberate approach sometimes lingers needlessly over individual sentences that do not repay such scrutiny. The many conversational scenes come off as more lively and are much better. Overall, this is a serviceable reading, but the paradigm for Babbitt on cassette remains the multi-voiced, unabridged performance by L.A. Theatre Works. G.H. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine
Dan Sullivan, Los Angeles Times
"This is world-class radio theatre with, for once, an American label."
The paradigm for Babbitt on cassette remains the multi-voiced, unabridged performance by L.A. Theatre Works.
Joseph Keppler, Booklist, October 15, 1989
Sinclair Lewis' classic satire of the ignorantly entrapped entrepreneur gains relevance as a radio play. [T]his sumptuous production features such talents as Amy Irving, Marsha Mason, and Richard Dreyfuss. Edward Asner plays George F. Babbitt with the resolute gusto of the stereotypical American businessperson. . . . [T]his lavish recording sets a magnificent standard.
?[It is] by its hardness, its efficiency, its compactness that Mr. Lewis?s work excels.??Virginia Woolf
This epic of the booming 1920s uniquely captures the relentless culture of American business. A classic novel about conformity in small-town America--celebrated for its comic tone, satire, and vivid dialogue.
George E. Babbitt, a conniving, prosperous real estate man from Zenith, Ohio, revels in his popularity, his success, and, especially, in the material rewards they bring. He bullies his wife, flirts with other women, and patronizes the less successful. But when his best friend is sent to prison for killing his wife, Babbitt's middle-class complacency is shattered, and he rebels, seeking a more "meaningful" life. His small revolt is quickly defeated, however, by public opinion and his own need for acceptance. Babbitt captures the flavor of America during the economic boom years of the 1920s, and its protagonist has become the symbol of middle-class mediocrity, his name an enduring part of the American lexicon.
Inside Flap Copy
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.
From the Back Cover
“[It is] by its hardness, its efficiency, its compactness that Mr. Lewis’s work excels.”—Virginia Woolf
About the Author
Richard Lingeman is a senior editor of The Nation. He is the author of Small Town America, a biography of Theodore Dreiser, and Sinclair Lewis: Rebel from Main Street.
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