Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

Main Street
Sinclair Lewis


The 1920 publication of Main Street brought Sinclair Lewis his first serious critical recognition. In 1930 he became the first American to win the Nobel Prize for literature. Born and raised in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, Lewis knew the American heartland as few other writers have. He both loved and despised small towns, and the tension between those feelings permeates this classic novel. The setting is Gopher Prairie, a bastion of prosaic, small-minded, middle-class values. Its newest inhabitant is the beautiful young Carol Kennicott, who dreams of transforming her adopted hometown into an oasis of beauty, refinement, and culture. But Carol is no match for the town’s provincialism, and her struggle to overcome the complacency, bigotry, and hypocrisy of Gopher Prairie becomes the author’s devastating and satiric take on all small towns.

First published: NY: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1920.

Paperback, 416pp
Dover Publications, 2000 (1920)
ISBN 9780486406558