Inscribed by Sinclair Lewis
Main Street. The Story of Carol Kennicott.
New York: Harcourt, Brace and Howe, 1920.
The story of Carol Kennicott. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Howe, 1920.
First edition, second state (with type batter on pp. 54 and 387). Inscribed by Sinclair Lewis on front free endpaper. Octavo (7 3/8 x 5 inches; 187 x 127 mm). [2, blank], , 451, [3, blank] pp.
Inscription reads: "To Mr. + Mrs/ Will Owen Jones/ Christmas, 1920/William Allen White/ asks me to send you/this book in Christmas/ greeting- + he let/me tag along after hin!/ Sinclair Lewis/ Washington/ Dec. 1920" The inscription is probably to William Owen Jones managing editor of the Nebraska State Journal and author of the book By Land and Sea, a publication on foreign travel.
Original dark blue cloth stamped in orange on front cover and spine. Spine lightly sunned and the edges of the spine and boards with a small amount of wear. Small booksellers stamp on front pastedown. Overall a very good copy.
"Lewis attained fame with the publication of Main Street (1920). The book’s protagonist, Carol Kennicott, a quixotic young woman determined to adopt a small prairie town and bring culture to it, moves to Gopher Prairie, Minnesota, a town not unlike Sauk Centre, and is dismayed by the small-minded people who live there. Main Street is an exposé of midwestern small-town life, depicting the prejudices of America’s villagers and expressing the quintessential statement of the “revolt against the village” introduced by nineteenth-century novelists such as E. W. Howe and Joseph Kirkland. Lewis’s satirical wit and his skill at creating memorable characters, however, set him apart from his literary predecessors. The novel was not only a bestseller, but a cultural phenomenon, inspiring a host of similar books, jokes about small towns, a popular song (“Main Street: A Fox Trot Song”), and fan mail from a variety of readers ranging from housewives who recognized themselves in the book’s protagonist to fellow authors such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sherwood Anderson. The novel was controversial, however, some reviewers seeing it as unfair to the small town and even unfair to the American character. In part because of its controversial nature, the novel was passed over for the Pulitzer Prize, for which it was a major contender in 1921." (American Dictionary of National Biography). Lewis was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1930.
Pastore pp. 89-101.