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Dodsworth

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  660 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Dodsworth is both a devastating, surprisingly contemporary portrait of a marriage falling apart and a grand tour of the Europe of a bygone era.
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Published January 1st 2008 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published 1929)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,211)
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Jeffrey Keeten
”Oh...I suppose America terrifies me. I feel insecure there. I feel everybody watching me, and criticizing me unless I’m buzzing about Doing Something Important--uplifting the cinema or studying Einstein or winning bridge championships or breeding Schnauzers or something. And there’s no privacy, and I’m an extravagant woman when it comes to the luxury of privacy.” Edith Cortright

 photo Dodsworth_zpsf18d51cd.jpg
Walter Huston plays Sam Dodsworth in the 1936 movie.

Sam Dodsworth made a small fortune building up an automobile comp
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Lauren
I should begin by saying I love, ardently, William Wyler's 1936 film adaptation of Dodsworth. Now having read the book, I just marvel at the film more, and can't say that I'm aware of any more efficient and elegant translation of novel to screenplay, nor of a cast who has more successfully captured the spirit of their literary alter egos, without being a bit restrained by the text—very few lines straight from Lewis appear in the film.

Which isn't a pity since they couldn't play conversationally,
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Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this review, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

(CCLaP's rare-book service [cclapcenter.com/rarebooks] recently auctioned off a first edition, first printing copy of Sinclair Lewis' 1929 Dodsworth. Below is the write-up I did for the book's description.)

Poor Sinclair Lewis! Once one of the most celebrated writers on the planet, for an unprecedented str
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Steven
Dodsworth, like Babbitt and Main Street and It Can't Happen Here, is an essential American novel--absolutely essential. No one does American ambition like Lewis, which is why he probably ranks higher than most of the authors on whatever "Great American Novel" list you might read. Samuel Dodsworth is a business man, a captain of the motor industry, a family man who really doesn't know anything about his family, a man with a respectable lawn, an esteemed peer of the "right" clubs and committees, a ...more
John
Jul 09, 2015 John rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: author's fans and 20's enthusiasts
Shelves: audiobook, audible
I'd never read anything by this author, so thought I'd start here. The societal observation is so keen that at times I nearly forgot it wasn't set in current time (although the casual anti-Semitism was pretty tough). As a book, it was largely frustrating, and often tedious, dealing with a protagonist in a one-sided relationship, where everyone knows it's over, but him. Recommended for those who've enjoyed other Lewis works and/or those with a fascination for the interwar period.
John Petty
If Sinclair Lewis wasn't the greatest author of the twentieth century, he was damn close. Like his earlier works, Dodsworth is a biting indictment of American society at the turn of the twentieth century, in this case epitomized by captain of industry Samuel Dodsworth and his social-climbing wife. Although lacking much of the punch of such earlier works as Babbit and Elmer Gantry, Dodsworth is a must-read for any fan of this now sadly-overlooked author.
Jermajesty
A mediocre novel, but a mediocre novel of great value.
Chris Gager
My next book in between the Potter series. Gotta clean the palate! My edition is a paperback from a ways back(Signet 1967 - 99 cents!). I've read Babbitt, Elmer Gantry and It Can't Happen Here(all long ago in prep school) and Arrowsmith more recently.

Sam and spouse are in England now and he's opening up to the experience of moving closer to a more authentic self. Very interesting to read Lewis' words on the now-fashionable "authentic self" thing. Meanwhile the wife is beginning to reveal her sho
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Cojaysea
One of my all time favorite reads . so insightful, so filled with the differences that people see or wish to see between european and american culture ,explained so wonderfully by a great writer . how many times i wonder did Sinclair lewis himself walk through grand central station pondering like sam dodsworth does in this novel? dont you love it when great books are turned in to great movies like this one ? the film is as good as the book a very rear feat. other books that come to mind McTeague ...more
Nancy
To me a book about identity and just who do we think we are and how do you define yourself. Sam Dodsworth meets Fran and they marry, have children, and Sam builds a very successful business in "motors". The questions and the identity issues begin when Sam sells his company and decides to grant Fran's wish to travel in Europe. This all happens in the time between wars and as America is mired in prohibition. It turns out that perhaps Sam and Fran have never really known each other at all. Lewis's ...more
Consuela
I've never read anything by Sinclair Lewis, but I read this because I really like the 1936 movie adaptation of this novel. The book is very good. Told from the standpoint of Sam Dodsworth, a 50ish car magnate who has just retired and his younger wife Fran (well, 10 years younger) wants to travel around Europe and live the good life. Sam is game and goes along with Fran until Fran's attempts to be eternally young and romantically cherished as one of the beautiful people really cause a lot of soul ...more
Scott
Upon retirement, Sam Dodsworth takes his wife Fran to Europe. What transpires before Sam's eyes is Fran's awakening that she is really "a European" and she proceeds to drift into the social life and interests of that continent. Sam discovers that his wife disdains his American notions of work, entrepreneurship, and "simple" ways. Sam bites his lips in a few situations and in one, demands his wife leave with him to Germany. Ultimately, she follows for a count of dubious reputation and he drifts a ...more
Terri
Some of the social commentary fits so well today I was surprised, many times. The descriptions get a bit boring for us "modern" folk who are used to quick images, quick reads, and have an idea of other countries from easier and affordable traveling, and the travel channel! It's easy to miss the satire in some of the descriptions. Lewis' people are nearly spot on, intentionally stereotyped. The book resonates even today.
Laurel
Written in 1929, this Sinclair Lewis is a classic portrayl of American society, politics, and business. Lewis deftly describes the US love/hate relationship with Europe and all things "foreign". There are passages that could easily describe what is going on today in the US with our political and business culture. A great story, if not a page turner.
Michael Fredette
Dodsworth, a 1929 novel by America's first Nobel Prize for Literature recipient Sinclair Lewis is, at its heart, a naturalistic portrait of a marriage in decline, a precursor to the work of Richard Yates and John Updike. Sam Dodsworth, is an American industrialist with an Ivy League education, who makes his wealth in the automotive field at its inception. At middle age, he retires when his company is acquired by a multi-national corporation and he and his younger wife Fran (ten years his junior) ...more
Mary Tuley
Aug 20, 2007 Mary Tuley rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Literature buffs.
I thought the plot was drab and the people bland -- but intentionally so. Sinclair Lewis is underappreciated now, but he was a genius at serving up the realities of his time.
Joe
So much better than I thought it would be. Man that woman got on my last nerve.
Lee Anne
I'm a huge fan of the 1936 movie of this book, perfectly cast with Walter Huston and Ruth Chatterton, and I've read Elmer Gantry, another Sinclair Lewis book (and great movie).

It's a talented author who can write a novel that's still enjoyable when the main characters are unlikable (looking at you, Madame Bovary). Sam Dodsworth is a fifty-something millionaire manufacturer of automobiles who has recently retired. Fran is his forty-something wife, and together, they are doing the Grand Tour of E
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Judy
This is an absorbing -- if overlong -- novel that is both an examination of a failing marriage as well as an exploration of the differences between consumerist American society and European society, where history, gentility and art are still revered.

Sam Dodsworth, a pioneer in the automobile industry, finds himself at 50 having sold his share of his company to a larger corporate entity, and persuaded by his restless wife, Fran, to go to Europe for many months. Ten years younger than her husband,
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Joy H.
Added 4/18/13.
"DODSWORTH" (first published 1929) by Sinclair Lewis.
I did not read this book but in April 2013 I saw the movie of the same name on TCM-TV. The movie came out in 1936. A touching story. Recommended.

PLOT: (view spoiler)
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Susan
I'm not sure if I read this many years ago when I was going through a Sinclair Lewis phase. If so, I didn't remember much. I really enjoyed this portrait of a marriage and of America and Europe in the mid-1920s. Because of the time period I had to look up a number of the topical references, and that was very interesting. Sam Dodsworth is the founder and president of a motor company, Revelation Motors, who retires at the age of 50 when his company is purchased by a larger car company. His wife, F ...more
Barry Smolin
Dodsworth rarely comes up when people discuss the work of Sinclair Lewis, but I found this novel to be just as incisive and wickedly funny as Main Street, Babbitt, Arrowsmith, Elmer Gantry, et al. Filled with Lewis's signature acerbic observations of American culture, the book also pithily lambastes European bourgeois culture as well. In addition, Dodsworth is an insightful look at a long marriage beginning to falter after the kids are grown and the lost temptations of youth resurface and tantal ...more
Holly
The book is set circa 1925. It's about a wealthy American businessman and his younger wife setting off to travel around Europe after he retires. I have a lot of trouble with extremely wealthy people who are dissatisfied with everything. I found the first half to three quarters of the book boring, except for a few amusing exchanges between Sam and Fran. I only stuck with it because it is a book club book. Thankfully, it did get a little better. Still not tops on my list.
Sharon
Didn't like this quite as much as Babbit. Dodsworth was such a wimp, it got a bit tedious. Glad, at least, that he did finally leave his grasping wife.
Arthur
I expected a longer end. From a long story. There is a constant understanding of the relationship between Sam Dodsworth and the Europeans so the story was worth reading. It was understandable, constantly, used polite speech, less and less was I ready to put it down. But to know the opinion of Sam you can not put it down, read about him and then only Fran but have to get involved. All life means to be a man means to live, which for Sam in the 1920s, is booming as this unforgettable adventure is i ...more
Brett
Great writing is timeless. The characters Lewis creates here, spoiled Fran and relation-ally timid Sam D. You end up hating them both, vacillating between who is more loathsome...Fran or Sam for putting up with Fran. More emotionally challenging that Main Street by a long shot. Makes you wonder what demons floated around the alcoholic brain of Lewis. Really well written and I'm surprised I hadn't heard about the book until I stumbled across it in a used book store.
Ron
The last of Sinclair Lewis' five classic novels written in the 1920's, "Dodsworth" lays bare the relationship of U.S. corporate executive George Dodsworth and his superficial wife Fran as they tour Europe after 20 years of marriage. The story not only tells of two mismatched people who's marriage is coming apart but also depicts the clumsy American tourists as they travel to Europe during the 1920's. A good book and a good study of human character that probably hasn't changed since 1929.

Kindle
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Shawn
Just a placeholder until I can really review this book.

I read this book in September 2007. The story was written in the 1920's. Although the settings are dated, the story of Sam and Fran is not.

The story is essentially about Sam. All other characters exist more or less to provide interactions with Sam as he discovers Who He Is and What He Wants. The reader is never given a glimpse into the inner motivations of any other characters, even Fran, Their actions are presented as perceived by Sam.

Ken
Having just recently found a collectible book in fair condition, I bought it to reread the story and reminisce about my summer before graduate school in 1995, when I read the novel out on a beautiful deck, overlooking a blue, Texas lake near Austin.

From what I recall, I liked the main character, and could relate to the unsettled nature of his life at that time in my life. Who knows what I will get out of it the second time around.
Kate Blumenthal
We started "Dodsworth" the day after we finished "Babbitt". Our Library of America edition contains Arrowsmith, Elmer Gantry and Dodsworth. What a great collection!
I loved this book. As soon as we finished it, Fred and I watched the movie. The movie is so compressed in time that you don't get the real essence of Sam Dodsworth. But Fran and her various flirts and lovers were spot on.
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7330
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
More about Sinclair Lewis...
Main Street Babbitt Arrowsmith Elmer Gantry It Can't Happen Here

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“If travel were so inspiring and informing a business...then the wisest men in the world would be deck hands on tramp steamers, Pullman porters, and Mormon missionaries.” 6 likes
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