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Babbitt [Anglais] [Broché]

Sinclair Lewis
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Description de l'ouvrage

1 décembre 2003 Dover Thrift
Since the 1922 publication of Babbitt, its eponymous anti-hero-a real estate broker and relentless social climber inhabiting a Midwestern town called Zenith-has become a symbol of stultifying values and middle class hypocrisy.

--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Poche .

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Biographie de l'auteur

Sinclair Lewis was born in 1885 in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, and graduated from Yale University in 1908. His college career was interrupted by various part-time occupations, including a period working at the Helicon Home Colony, Upton Sinclair’s socialist experiment in New Jersey. He worked for some years as a free lance editor and journalist, during which time he published several minor novels. But with the publication of Main Street (1920), which sold half a million copies, he achieved wide recognition. This was followed by the two novels considered by many to be his finest, Babbitt (1922) and Arrowsmith (1925), which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1926, but declined by Lewis. In 1930, following Elmer Gantry (1927) and Dodsworth (1929), Sinclair Lewis became the first American author to be awarded the Nobel Prize for distinction in world literature. This was the apogee of his literary career, and in the period from Ann Vickers (1933) to the posthumously published World So Wide (1951) Lewis wrote ten novels that reveal the progressive decline of his creative powers. From Main Street to Stockholm, a collection of his letters, was published in 1952, and The Man from Main Street, a collection of essays, in 1953. During his last years Sinclair Lewis wandered extensively in Europe, and after his death in Rome in 1951 his ashes were returned to his birthplace.
--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Poche .

Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 320 pages
  • Editeur : Dover Publications Inc.; Édition : New edition (1 décembre 2003)
  • Collection : Dover Thrift
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0486431673
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486431673
  • Dimensions du produit: 21,5 x 16,1 x 2 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.5 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 42.485 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Quatrième de couverture
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5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Le rebelle moyen 7 février 2010
Format:Broché
Babbitt, c'est le bourgeois américain moyen, dans une ville américaine moyenne, un Républicain conservateur moyen, une famille américaine moyenne, membre bon teint d'un club de la classe moyenne, agent immobilier de son état, honnête dans la limite de son intérêt bien compris en affaires, maison moyenne, jardin moyen, voiture moyenne, tout est propret, convenable, comme il faut...Mais quelque chose le dérange dans cette vie formatée, étouffante de respectabilité et de superficialité. Il se rend compte qu'il n'a jamais pu faire quoi que ce soit lui procurant la moindre once de plaisir. Alors, il se rebelle, change de bord politique, prend une maîtresse, commence à boire (on est à l'époque de la Prohibition)...Mais le naturel reprend vite le dessus et Babbitt, aprés quelques pathétiques frasques, rentre dans le rang de la "bonne société"...

Ce livre est un magnifique portrait de l'Américain moyen des annés 1920 qui, aujourd'hui encore garde toute son actualité et sa modernité. Une indispensable lecture qui permet de se faire un jugement plus nuancé sur la société américaine.
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 De la difficulté d'échapper au groupe 6 juillet 2011
Par Modeste
Format:Broché
Agent immobilier dans une ville moyenne des USA, entre les deux guerres mondiales, Babitt a accédé à des revenus élevés et à une reconnaissance sociale de la part de ses pairs.
Cette middle-class, à laquelle il appartient, est décrite très finement par Lewis, qui met en évidence les valeurs exclusives de ce groupe, la famille et la réussite socio-financière. Cette classe sociale n'est guère préoccupée de culture, et encore moins d'esprit d'ouverture aux gens moins favorisés, qu'elle méprise plus ou moins ouvertement. La bête noire de la middle-class est constituée de tous ceux qui, de près ou de loin, peuvent être soupçonnées d'esprit "socialiste", et de tous ceux qui les soutiennent, même timidement.
Babitt est bien intégré à son groupe social, mais il a deux particularités qui le distinguent des autres : Il se pose des questions, et il n'est pas entièrement satisfait par sa réussite, ni par sa vie conjugale.
Il va finir par se "révolter", prendre une maîtresse, passer ses soirées à boire et danser, au grand dam de sa femme. Il se permettra même le luxe d'approuver (sans excès) certains libéraux, évidemment considérés comme réactionnaires par la classe dominante.
Mais en franchissant ce pas, il réalise aussitôt qu'il est allé trop loin : Ses amis et relations le mettent à l'index, il se retrouve isolé, et même son métier en pâtit, car on ne lui confie plus d'affaires.
Babitt ne pourra pas supporter la pression que représente l'abandon de son milieu social coutumier.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 étoiles sur 5  97 commentaires
66 internautes sur 69 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Highly Entertaining 15 août 2001
Par Jeffrey Leach - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Sinclair Lewis wrote a series of satires that exposed the hypocrisy of early 20th century America. “Babbitt” is a snapshot of the life of George F. Babbitt, a somewhat prosperous middle class businessman who lives in Zenith, Ohio. Zenith has a population of 300,000+, and has an active business community. This community has its own rituals and ironclad rules. These rules consist of being one of the gang, being a member of all the right clubs and organizations, and never deviating from the ideals of business and money. These rules cause enormous difficulties for Babbitt when he goes through a midlife crisis at the end of the book and begins spouting liberal ideas and associating with the “wrong” crowd.
This is my first encounter with Sinclair Lewis. I really don’t know why I chose to read “Babbitt” first, as I also have copies of “Main Street” and “Arrowsmith”. I think it was the unusual cover of the Penguin edition, which is a picture of a painting called “Booster” by Grant Wood. To me, that picture IS Babbitt, and I’ll always be able to see Babbitt in my head whenever I’m reminded of this book.There really isn’t a lot of symbolism here (and the symbolism that is here is pretty easy to decipher) and the prose is much closer to our present day writing and speech. This is brilliant satire, and you’ll laugh out loud at many of the situations Babbitt gets himself into. An especially hilarious incident occurs when one of the local millionaire businessmen finally accepts an invitation to dine with Babbitt. The evening goes badly because Babbitt is in a lower social class. Lewis then shows Babbitt going to a dinner at an old friends house who is in a lower class then him. It’s hilarious to see the similarities between the two events, and it brings home how class is strictly enforced in Zenith, and by extension, America.
Babbitt is a person that I found myself both hating and liking, often within the space of one page. He’s ignorant, in that he is a major conformist who often repeats slogans and phrases merely because others in his circle say the same things. He’s a namedropper who refers to people he doesn’t even know as though they were his best friends. He’s also high volume. Babbitt is one of those people we all know who is always boisterous and noisy so they can hide their own insecurities or ignorance. Just when you think you can’t stand Babbitt for another second, Lewis tosses in a situation that makes you feel for the man. Babbitt is the boss at a real estate company, and he worries about his employees liking him. When a confrontation arises with one of his salesmen, Babbitt frets and doesn’t want to fire the guy, although the rules of business eventually force him to do exactly that. He wants all of his employees to like him. He also feels bad about cheating on his wife while she is away and worries about what his children will think of him when he comes in drunk after a night of carousing. Ultimately, although Babbitt can be a major heel, the reader is almost forced to sympathize with him. This is true especially at the end of the book, when Babbitt renounces his liberal ways and rejoins his old colleagues. His return to the pack is not quite complete, however. Babbitt is changed by his transgression, and has learned a few lessons that he imparts to his son on the last page of the book, thus ending the tale on an upbeat note.
I would like to have seen a better section of explanatory notes in this Penguin edition. While some of the more obscure references are defined, many are not. Also, some of the language in the book is very 1920’s slang, and for a 21st century ear, it can be difficult to pick up on some of them. This book is both funny and sad, but well worth reading. Sinclair Lewis eventually won Pulitzer and Nobel prizes for his literary endeavors. It’s not hard to see why. Recommended.
32 internautes sur 33 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Peppy All-American Booster Weathers Mid-Life Crisis 8 août 2001
Par Robert S. Newman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
Sinclair Lewis and Thomas Hart Benton, the artist, were about the same age, they both focussed on the American Heartland, and as I read Lewis, I see that they both had something else in common. They both had a tendency to draw cartoonish characters. George F. Babbitt is the main character of a satire by the same name; you might even laugh aloud in some places. Lewis is skillful, but at times, heavy-handed. He has portrayed an average Joe of 1920, the pep- and vim-obsessed go-getting businessman who was the bedrock of our industrial age, hypocritical, materialist, crooked, conformist, even proto-fascist. Babbitt is a real estate agent, a family man surrounded by the wealth of material goods provided by thriving industrial capitalism. He belongs enthusiastically and unquestioningly to any organization dedicated to preserving his and his family's ready access to those goods---professional group (realtors association), Boosters, church, and set social circle. He spouts meaningless platitudes on every subject, knows nothing except the price of real estate and methods of collusion, and ignores his feelings, his family, and the rest of the world, all the while believing that his city, state, and country are the best in the world. The first 90-odd pages of BABBITT are pure genius; one of the best character portraits you are likely to find in American literature---but it is a caricature after all. Lewis' choice of names underlines his cartoonish glee in writing this brilliant novel---Vergil Gunch, Professor Pumphrey, Chet Laylock, Matt Penniman, Muriel Frink, Opal Mudge, Carrie Nork, and Miss McGoun---names that could have been annexed years later by MAD magazine ! "Babbitt" has long been a word in American English, signifying a conforming materialist citizen without a mind of his own. Perhaps this is not entirely fair.
George goes through a mid-life crisis, rebels against his static, materialistic life with its know-nothing attitudes, its moral certitudes, and its boring routines. His closest friend (aren't there certain unspoken overtones of homosexual love ?) commits a dastardly deed, breaking George's heart. "On the rebound", he meets the fantastically-named Tanis Judique, femme fatale à la Midwest. Certain consequences arise, Lewis brings in his ever-present fear of American fascist tendencies, and there's a rather hopeful ending, also in the American tradition. If you are looking for a place to begin reading Sinclair Lewis, BABBITT is an excellent choice. If you already know other Lewis novels, don't miss this one. I would say that with "Main Street", "Elmer Gantry" and "Dodsworth", BABBITT is at the solid gold core of Sinclair Lewis' work. He certainly did deserve that Nobel Prize.
25 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great Classic 27 juillet 2010
Par Henry G. Obermayer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat authentifié par Amazon
Sinclair Lewis has to be one of the "great" writers of all time. In Babbitt he describes an era using fictional characters to represent the times in which many changes were taking place in the social environment of our country. America was coming out of the rural age and into the age of technical development, and characters reflected the effects of these changes in Lewis' novel. Great reading, and an opportunity to reflect on an important stage in America's development.
19 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 So those were the good old days? 27 janvier 2000
Par Allen Smalling - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
George F. Babbitt is middle-aged and middle-class. He lives in a medium-sized home in a medium-sized city in the Middle West. He's a middleman--he sells real estate. He went to a state university and depends on his secretary to fix the spelling and grammar in his letters. His children fight over who gets to use the car. His life is pretty straight and narrow, until he begins an affair when his wife is out of town and all of a sudden things aren't so middle-of-the-road anymore.
Sound like anyone you know? But "Babbitt" was published--almost unbelievably--in 1922. Funny how little some things have changed. Lewis's satire on suburban life and its conformities was an instant hit. Even today, we know what a Babbitt is--a guy who's all show and no go--whose lifestyle and opinions have been furnished for him but maybe whose soul is a little out of whack. It's a pity that schools usually assign the much slower-paced "Main Street". Read "Main Street" to see what life used to be like. Read "Babbitt" to see how we got to where we are today.
22 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 George F. Babbitt: Apostle of Rotarianism and Boosterism 14 septembre 2005
Par T. Patrick Killough - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
In April 1920 George F. Babbitt was a moderately successful, reasonably honest real estate man in the mythical midwestern American industrial city of Zenith. Product himself of a virtuous small town, Catawba, Babbitt rose to become a college graduate, married man and father of three. He was a joiner (Elks, Boosters), political activist (Republican precinct leader), churchman (Presbyterian) and believer in the power and beauty of advertising. Over the next year or so, George or "Georgie" became favorably noticed by his betters through previously muted oratorical and advocacy skills. But as he rose in public and kingmakers' esteem, he also stumbled by admitting weakly to a certain sympathy (but not solidarity) with labor unions, strikers and a radical local lawyer, college friend Seneca Doane.

When another and much closer friend went to prison for a crime of personal violence, Babbitt lost his bearings. Zenith, its mores and values, no longer defined for Babbitt the outer imaginable limits of human striving. Yet he could not create anything better. All he could rouse himself to do was to experiment with a couple of amours, run around for a few weeks with a fast crowd, drink too much, hurt his wife's feelings, slip out of the office to go to movies and slide into mild disrepute with his business peers and his betters.

In the end, however, Babbitt lost energy and all pretense to be a free wheeling libertine and slipped back to being Good Old Georgie. Once again he was predictable. That is, "he cheated only if it was sanctified by precedent" (Ch. 4). He championed with conviction "the spiritual and mental side of American supremacy ... spiritual and, uh, dominating movements like Efficiency, and Rotarianiam, and Prohibition, and Democracy" (Ch. 6). While transforming himself back to what American businessmen were intended to be, George F. Babbitt left posterity a name synonymous with dull mediocrity, caution and conformity.

-OOO-
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