Sinclair Lewis: Babbitt

(1324 words)

With Babbitt (1922) Sinclair Lewis consolidated the reputation he had earned with his first best-selling novel, Main Street (1920). Like Main Street, Babbitt not only became a best seller, but it generated controversy, became a US cultural phenomenon, and eventually contributed a new word to the language. (Although the word “babbitt” has come to mean a “smugly conventional person,” George F. Babbitt is a more complex individual – and more troubled – than the dictionary definition would suggest.) Babbitt is the story of a middle-aged real estate broker who faces a series of psychological crises that reveal to him the emptiness of his superficially successful and prosperous life. As a …

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Fleming, Robert E.. "Babbitt". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 March 2001
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]