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Babbitt

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3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  15,271 Ratings  ·  824 Reviews
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 despair ...more
Paperback, 369 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Barnes & Noble Classics (first published 1922)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Richard Derus
Apr 30, 2013 Richard Derus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book Circle Reads 55

Rating: 4* of five

The 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
...more
Lyn
Jul 25, 2015 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

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Viola
Oct 23, 2013 Viola rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
عبدالله ناصر
من الروايات الكلاسيكية العظيمة جداً بترجمة رصينة وقديرة وروح ساخرة. لا أتذكر رواية انتقدت الرأسمالية الأمريكية وعرتها كهذه الرواية. توصية
Ryan Holiday
Jun 22, 2012 Ryan Holiday rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 lit ...more
Fahad
Apr 27, 2016 Fahad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favorites
بابت

عندما قطعت جائزة نوبل للأدب 1930 م المحيط للمرة الأولى لتذهب لكاتب من العالم الجديد - الأمريكي (سنكلير لويس) – بررت الأكاديمية السويدية هذا الاختيار لسنكلير لويس بأنه لـ"وصفه القوي والتصويري، وقدرته على خلق نوع جديد من الشخصيات بكل طرافة وخفة ظل".

كان هذا الوصف دقيقاً جداً فسنكلير لويس خلق بحلول ذلك الوقت وبكل اقتدار شخصياته التي لا تنسى من (مارتن آروسميث) في رواية (آروسميث) – قدمها المركز القومي للترجمة في 2009 بترجمة محمود عزت موسى -، إلى شخصية (إيلمر جانتري) في رواية تحمل الاسم ذاته ولم
...more
Lotz
Jun 07, 2016 Lotz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lotz by: Wastrel
“You,” said Dr. Yavitch, “are a middle-road liberal, and you haven’t the slightest idea what you want. I, being a revolutionary, know exactly what I want—and what I want now is a drink.”

This book is brutal. Lewis’s satire of middle-class American life is hardly funny; it’s just depressing. Not that Lewis is mean-spirited—far from it—but he sees everything with such terrible clarity. You’d think a book so heavily engrossed in the daily details of the 1920s would have aged considerably. Just the
...more
Nancy Oakes
Jan 20, 2013 Nancy Oakes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-fiction
Actually, I read this as part of a self-oriented challenge to read a few of the "1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die" list; like the ones I've chosen so far it turned out to be a fine novel, one with more than a lot of relevance to our modern world considering it was written in the 1920s.

George F. Babbitt is a real estate agent in Zenith, a Midwestern city of of "towers of steel and cement and limestone" where the population has grown to "practically 362,000." While anyone visiting its busi
...more
Chloe
Oh the pain of suburban ennui! It really and truly sucks when you do everything everyone always tells you will make you happy and then you realize that you're dissatisfied with the world. Poor Georgie Babbitt... or not.

This is an early entry in the genre that has been driven into the ground by things like American Beauty, Norman Mailer's An American Dream and Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho. Middle-aged realtor and pillar of the community, George Babbitt, is an up-and-comer. He says all the r
...more
Andy
Jul 23, 2007 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readownedloved
I think I may have read a short story or two by Sinclair Lewis during high school or early college, but if I did I don't remember it. Lewis was never one of the early modern American writers that I was very curious about, and so when Anna gave me a copy of Babbitt that she bought at some discount book sale, along with several other books, for my birthday I was maybe least excited about Babbitt (among that group of books)--knew nothing about it, really, aside from having heard of it before. Maybe ...more
Gray Side
May 24, 2016 Gray Side rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
بابِت يتبنى الاعجاب الدائم بشخصيته ومعجزات أفكاره ، يرى أن السمسارالعقاري يتفوق على الكاتب والأستاذ الجامعي ؛ لأنه اللبنة الأولى في بناء أي مجتمع حضاري، يتأمل ارتفاع البنايات وانعكاس أشعة الشمس عليها كأشجار أسمنتية تملأ فراغه الروحي، ولكن هذا الفراغ يطلب أكثر من امتيازاته المادية، يجد ضالته في رفقة العصابة وحفلات السَكر، الزوجة حاضرة بظلّها فقط لأنها أكثر سذاجة من بابِت، زائدتها الدودية كانت الحدث الروحاني الوحيد الذي جمع شتات بابِت وأعاده للنسق العائلي والعملي.

سخرية سنكلير لويس اللاذعة تظهر في
...more
Το Άσχημο
Το Ζίνιθ είναι μια φανταστική πόλη που δημιούργησε με την πένα του ο συγγραφέας Λιούις Σινκλαίρ – τοποθετημένη κάπου ανάμεσα στην Μεσοδυτικές (κέντρο και βόρεια) πολιτείες των ΗΠΑ. Χάρη σε αυτή την πόλη και στον απίθανο κάτοικό της, την Τζορτζ Φ. Μπάμπιτ, ο συγγραφέας κέρδισε το νόμπελ λογοτεχνίας και η ανθρωπότητα το πιο ξεκαρδιστικό πορτραίτο ρεπουμπλικάνου μεσοαστού που γράφτηκε ως τώρα. Το βιβλίο αυτό γράφτηκε στα 1920 αλλά θα μπορούσε κάλλιστα να περιγράφει ένα σημερινό ψηφοφόρο του Ντόναλν ...more
Josh
Oct 13, 2011 Josh rated it liked it
This book is conflicting me. What is this a satire of? Your average, shallow, 1920's business-man? Or is George F. Babbitt merely a straw man for every Republican and Christian that dare disagree with or do wrong to ol' Sinclair?

I wouldn't say Babbitt is merely a straw man; he is a very well-rounded character, very realistic and relatable at times, and occasionally put in a sympathetic light. But I was reminded too often that he is just a character, as he suddenly pulls a "DIE SOCIALIST DIE"/"Th
...more
Wastrel
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 ...more
Duffy Pratt
Dec 29, 2012 Duffy Pratt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
I rarely change my mind about a book based on the way it ends. With this book, I make an exception. I went through various phases with this book.

To start, it seemed like a fun satire of one of the most shallow characters imaginable. George Babbit is a real estate man, utterly conventional, and without a thought or opinion of his own. He defines himself by the products he buys. He doesn't know what to think about something unless he's read the opinion in the editorials (conservative, of course).
...more
Christian Clarke
What pants should I wear to the US Open, I ask myself, anxiously, at seven in the morning, while guests of mine slept on our threadbare black futon in our hot, cramped living room. Should I wear the chinos? I didn't even know they were called "chinos" until my girlfriend, sleeping in the bed I am pacing next to, told me they were called chinos. The chinos are off-white. Are all chinos off-white? Are there green chinos? White pants are risky. Is wearing white classy or fruity? Both? Isn't there a ...more
Lisa Kortebein
Smart. Witty. Utterly satirical. If this is the kind of book you like, read this one. Even if you don't, read this one. Often when you read stellar books, the end lets you down. Not this one. From the first page to the last, Lewis succeeds in relaying the story of everyday America. Babbitt is an average upper middle to middle class businessman who suddenly realizes that he wants so much more. He was kind of waylaid into a marriage, away from career ambitions (no, not by pregnacy, but by midweste ...more
K.M. Weiland
Jul 26, 2016 K.M. Weiland rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been thoroughly enjoying my exploration of Lewis’s fiction, but now that I’ve reached Babbitt I see why it is considered his masterpiece. It is a tightly plotted, incisively character-driven, all-too-realistic journey through the quiet desperation of middle class life, led by a protagonist who is both revolting and utterly compelling.
Lisa
My reading has taken me from one sad marriage to another, though the discontent is about more than gender relations. In Babbitt, by the Nobel Prize winner Sinclair Lewis, there is alienation between the sexes because women (albeit sympathetically portrayed) are limited creatures who know nothing of the discontent that the anti-hero Babbitt feels, but there is also a piercing satire of the American Dream gone sour. The emptiness of a successful realtor’s life is stripped bare, and Babbitt’s uneas ...more
Marley
May 29, 2013 Marley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just re-read Babbit after at least 45 years. I'm convinced that like Death of a Salesman, it can't be understood by younger readers. At least I didn't get it back then. I was surprised that this time around I found Babbit very sympathetic. After all, we all are Babbits to some extent. I was really rooting for him to become the town eccentric.

As satire, Babbit works. As a "documentary" of post-war America it works. I found myself, however, mourning the death of American commercial culture, as
...more
Kirk
Mar 29, 2008 Kirk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Contemporary satirists would do well to reread Sinclair Lewis and learn something that doesn't always come through in, say, Little Children or The Emperor's Children: Lewis has a way of making you feel for his characters. I suppose it's a fine distinction between ridiculing social mores and ridiculing the folks who practice them (knowingly or not), but it strikes me as an important one. I guess I'm a sap and I want to like my main characters---or, rather, I want to like them for their susceptibi ...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

The CCLaP 100: In which I read for the first time a hundred so-called "classics," then write reports on whether or not they deserve the label

Essay #55: Babbitt (1922), by Sinclair Lewis

The story in a nutshell:
The follow-up to his surprise smash bestseller Main Street, Sinclair Lewis' 1922 Babbitt is basica
...more
Jennie
Mar 11, 2008 Jennie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn't think I would like this book, so I began to listen to it while running one of my mindless reports at work. I was hooked pretty early on. Lewis has such a great voice for description without wordiness that I could picture the scenes in my mind perfectly. More importantly, I found my own inner Babbitt and I welcomed her, with warning. Babbitt's boosters and Elks are my book club and PTA board. My ego has an easy blow up valve on it, and I feel like I have people I need to please, or at le ...more
Janette
Oct 18, 2014 Janette rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
First off, I'll say that Sinclair Lewis had a great writing style. Amazing description. Good characterization. But as far as I could tell (and okay, I only got through the second disk--1/6th of the book) there wasn't an actual plot to the story. Seriously, the guy woke up, shaved, had breakfast, and went to work. He dictated letters and bough a cigar lighter. That was pretty much it.

I'm not sure why this book is a classic. Mostly I just wondered if everybody else's life was so petty and devoid o
...more
Razvan Zamfirescu
Spicuiri din recenzia finala care se gaseste pe blogul meu



..........................................
Bineînțeles că intelectualitatea nu vedea cu ochi buni acest personaj și pe bună dreptate îl acuza de filistinism suficient – aș corecta puțin exprimarea în spiritul managementului de înaltă calitatea și aș spune filistinism eficient.

Sinclair Lewis a reușit cu romanul său să introducă un nou cuvânt în vocabularul american: babbit înseamnă o persoană supusă conformității fără a-și raționa prea mu
...more
Cdrueallen
Jan 21, 2011 Cdrueallen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
BABBITT is the devastatingly funny yet still endearing portrait of George Babbitt, a suburban real estate broker who is 46 in 1920. It's fascinating and disturbing when reading BABBITT to realize how little American business, American marriages, and American men have changed in the past 91 years. In 1920 gas cost 31 cents a gallon, liquor was illegal though in plentiful supply, and the internet had yet to be imagined, but George's emotional mix of bluster, bullying, babyish pouting, and his desp ...more
Amorfna
Jan 31, 2013 Amorfna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Džordž F. Bebit , stanovnik Zenita I imućni trgovac nekretninama je po pe-esu visoko moralni građanin, tipični konformista i valjani republikanac. On prezire klasičnu muziku I sluša isključivo dobri stari američki jazz. Klanja se novcu, progresu i praktičnom. Oličenje američkog optimizma!
Trebalo bi da je zadovoljan pa opet…
Bebit je savršen primer čoveka koji je zadovoljan svojim životom iz puke nemogućnosti da se otme zakonima konformizma koji mu nalažu da bude zadovoljan. Čovek koji je lišen sp
...more
Adam
Jan 06, 2008 Adam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: A person who likes F. Scott Fitzgerald.
This is really two books, both about Babbitt but really differing in plot structure and time period covered. The first book (half) is about the daily life of George Babbitt, who was once the symbol of the superficial and vacuous middle-class man but -- since people don't really read Babbitt anymore -- has lost that iconic status. We follow Babbitt as he wakes up to a pricy alarm clock, goes to work, tries to quit smoking, hangs out with other Babbitt-type chums, and goes back home. It's a good c ...more
Kerrie
Feb 08, 2012 Kerrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
George Babbitt is the ultimate conformist - successful businessman and high-ranking member of the little booming town of Zenith which, by golly, produces and contributes more to America than any of those four-flushers in New York or San Francisco! To all onlookers, Babbitt should be 110% satisfied with his place in society and life and a person to be envied.

And yet... he's not. He feels hemmed in, restricted, and unable to be himself. He wants to be... different. It's a niggling feeling, which c
...more
Violet
Oct 06, 2015 Violet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone with eyes
While the language is quite outdated, the story could have been written today.
(Featuring Donald Trump, me thinks and all cloned Kardashians taking selfies)
Strong characters, great satire. Humor is ripe with cynicism.
By golly, what a great book.
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Reading the Classics: Babbitt - Starting the Read 6 35 Jun 14, 2016 11:21AM  
All About Books: Week 47 - Babbit by Sinclair Lewis 5 19 Aug 13, 2014 09:19AM  
  • The Bostonians
  • Selected Essays
  • Night and Day
  • Maggie: A Girl of the Streets and Other Tales of New York
  • Sister Carrie
  • Great American Short Stories: From Hawthorne to Hemingway
  • Founding America: Documents from the Revolution to the Bill of Rights
  • Silas Marner and Two Short Stories (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
  • The Big Money (U.S.A., #3)
  • Billy Budd and The Piazza Tales
  • Lord Jim
  • Look Homeward, Angel
  • McTeague
  • The Professor's House
  • The House of the Dead/Poor Folk
  • The Enchanted Castle and Five Children and It
  • Barchester Towers (Chronicles of Barsetshire #2)
  • The Virginian: A Horseman of the Plains
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Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1930 "for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humor, new types of characters." His works are known for their insightful and critical views of American capitalism and materialism between the wars. He is also respected for his strong characterizations of modern working women. H.L. Mencken wrote of him, "[If] the ...more
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“You're so earnest about morality that I hate to think how essentially immoral you must be underneath.” 21 likes
“Whatever the misery, he could not regain contentment with a world which, once doubted, became absurd.” 18 likes
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