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3.96  ·  Rating details ·  876 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
Meet Sam Dodsworth, an amiable fifty-year-old millionaire and "American Captain of Industry, believing in the Republican Party, high tariffs and, so long as they did not annoy him personally, in Prohibition and the Episcopal Church." Dodsworth runs an auto manufacturing firm, but his beautiful wife, Fran, obsessed with the notion that she is growing old, persuades him to s ...more
Audio CD, 11 pages
Published January 1st 2008 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published 1929)
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Jeffrey Keeten
May 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-to-film
”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
May 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. 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 [] 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
Jun 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: home-inventory
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 Petty
Jan 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 06, 2008 rated it liked it
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.
Jun 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Richard Knight
While one of Lewis' most well-known novels, Dodsworth isn't as ambitious or funny as some of his other classics, like Babbitt or Elmer Gantry. Instead, it's a half break-up/ half tour of Europe novel, with only one area being successful (hint: it's the former. For me anyway). Sam Dodsworth is the retired head of a successful auto company and he travels around Europe with his annoying wife, Fran. But here's the thing. While I hate Fran since Lewis made it impossible not to, I find it hard to actu ...more
Jun 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mary Tuley
Aug 20, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  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.
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
Lee Anne
Mar 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
William Bibliomane
In the last of what are generally considered Sinclair Lewis's "great novels" of the 1920s, Americans Sam and Fran Dodsworth travel abroad after Sam retires from the auto industry. First in Britain, then in Europe, they discover that neither of them are the people that they thought they were. A loosely autobiographical effort by Lewis (who draws on his breakup with his first wife, Grace), this book also addresses the American view of Europe, and the European view of America, in the days immediate ...more
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've never read Lewis before but I have seen the movie based on this novel with Walter Huston. (It's very good and faithful to the spirit of the book.)

This was an extremely frank examination of a marriage for the times - we really get into the inner workings of Fran and Sam's relationship and how she manipulates him and how he has to figure out how to work her to get what he's very interesting without demonizing either one. Since most of the book is from his point of view, it's a g
Tabitha True
Jun 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This one's a keeper, and I've read it several times since finding an old hardback copy in a used bookstore many years ago. While the pace is definitely 1920s-leisurely, the insights into class, relationships, maturity, divorce and the "broadening" aspects of travel are timeless and keen. It's also, in its own odd way, a romance told from the man's point of view. As a young woman reader, I found Dodsworth pretty enlightening. (And the older I get, the more enlightening it is--the main characters ...more
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
K.M. Weiland
May 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite of Lewis’s books so far (haven’t read Babbitt yet). It is a marvelous character study, with a jolly good tour of Europe thrown into the mix. Dodsworth is an utterly likable, utterly relatable everyman character caught in a destructive relationship with a deeply selfish and immature woman. It’s ultimately a tragic story in many ways, but you can’t help but cheer with Dodsworth finally gives Fran what-for. Beautiful character arc and sad look at the destructive power humans wie ...more
Apr 18, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So much better than I thought it would be. Man that woman got on my last nerve.
A mediocre novel, but a mediocre novel of great value.
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Emily, Emily, thank you so much for enjoying this book enough to inspire me to read it. My long-time real friend, and Goodreads friend Emily always has excellent taste in literature and when I saw five Goodreads stars from her for this book I was sold. I absolutely loved this book. It has all the elements that I love in a book, and it didn’t disappoint in any of them.

It is a long book. I have mentioned in prior reviews that the longer a novel, if it’s a good one, the more time one gets to spend
Jack Baty
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
America vs. Europe, wife vs husband

Hope can an Ivy League man who forged great success in the automobile industry be so completely dominated by his relentlessly selfish wife? The reason is made painfully clear as the Dodsworth's embark on an extended stay in Europe. Dodsworth lays bare many psychological and cultural truths, while giving a glimpse of life in France, Germany and Italy between the world wars.
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
cool. and nice
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

Clearly used writing this to work through his own divorce.

Has some spot on societal observations, but he expressed those better in Main Street, Babbit, and Arrowsmith.
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
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
Lora Shouse
Dec 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Dodsworth started out well. Sam Dodsworth picks Fran for his lifelong sweetheart, marries her, and they live more or less happily together for thirty-something years. Before they married, he promised to one day take her to Europe. After he has built up an automobile manufacturing business and become a millionaire (but not a multi-millionaire), his company is bought out by a larger company, and he opts to retire instead of joining the new company in a subsidiary role. Finally, he can take Fran to ...more
Jan 07, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ash Ryan
An underappreciated of the great novels of the 20th century. More so than Babbitt, which is justly recognized as such. The same is true of Arrowsmith. Babbitt is a brilliant satire of the early 20th century midwestern American bourgeois businessman (basically a portrait of a W.A.S.P.)---Dodsworth and Arrowsmith are, respectively, portraits of the American industrialist and scientist, and while they are naturalistic, "warts and all" portrayals, Lewis by and large portrays them as po ...more
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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
More about Sinclair Lewis...
“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.” 9 likes
“And, swearing that he'd let no English passers-by tell him what HE was going to wear, he stalked toward Piccadilly and into a hat-shop he remembered having seen. He'd just glance in there. Certainly they couldn't SELL him anything! English people couldn't sell like Americans! So he entered the shop and came out with a new gray felt hat for town, a new brown one for the country, a bowler, a silk evening hat, and a cap, and he was proud of himself for having begun the Europeanization which he wasn't going to begin.” 1 likes
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