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Since the 1922 publication of Babbitt, its eponymous antiheroa prosperous real estate broker and relentless social climber inhabiting a Midwestern town called Zenithhas become a symbol of stultifying values and middle-class hypocrisy. At once a conformist and a rebel, George F. Babbitt represents an ordinary man whose life turns upside down during one of the most profound sea changes in American cultural history: the mechanization and hucksterism of the Roaring Twenties. Babbitt, his family, and his social circle are the very essence of the American Dream in all its glory and emptiness, and their story is a stirring portrait of a way of life in profound flux. Babbitt remains one of Sinclair Lewis’s most widely read novels. Contemptible and touching, frivolous and tragic, Babbitt is a rich, complex character whose legacy carries an eerie resonance to this day.
Includes a new afterword by Azar Nafisi Introduction by Sally E. Parry
Harry Sinclair Lewis, (18851951) the son of a country doctor, was born in Sauk Centre, Minnesota. After graduating from Yale in 1907, he went to New York, tried freelance work for a time, and then worked in a variety of editorial positions from the East Coast to California. Main Street (1920) was his first successful novel. In the decade that followed, Lewis published four other acclaimed novels of social criticism: Babbitt (1922); Arrowsmith (1925), for which he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize; Elmer Gantry (1927); and Dodsworth (1929). In 1930, he became the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. He continued to write novels and plays for another two decades and published his last work, World So Wide (1951), shortly before his death in Rome.
Sally E. Parry is Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, and Director of General Education at Illinois State University. She is currently the Executive Director of the Sinclair Lewis Society and editor of the Sinclair Lewis Society Newsletter. She has edited two collections of short stories by Sinclair Lewis, Go East, Young Man: Sinclair Lewis on Class in America (2005) and The Minnesota Stories of Sinclair Lewis (2005), and written, with Robert L. McLaughlin, We’ll Always Have the Movies: American Cinema During World War II (2006).
Azar Nafisi is the bestselling author of Reading Lolita in Tehran, Things I've Been Silent About, and The Republic of Imagination. She has taught at Oxford and several universities in Iran, and is currently a fellow at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced Interantional Relations. Her work has been translated into thirty-two langauages.