Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis

Babbitt (1922)

by Sinclair Lewis

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,546721,492 (3.69)249

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 249 mentions

English (66)  Portuguese (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (71)
Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
His last despairing fling before the paralyzed contentment of middle-age'
By sally tarbox on 27 Mar. 2014
Format: Paperback
George F Babbit is a respectable 'pillar of the community' in the fictional city of Zenith. Married with kids, an increasingly successful realtor in a world of 'good little people, comfortable, industrious, credulous', a good social life...and yet beset by the realisation that:
'perhaps all life as he knew it and vigorously practised it was futile; that heaven as portrayed by the Rev Drew was neither probable nor very interesting; that he hadn't much pleasure out of making money; that it was of doubtful worth to rear children merely that they might rear children who would rear children. What was it all about? What did he want?' Whether Babbit finally breaks with his conservative and conventional life forms the story.

I really enjoyed Lewis' humorous touches, especially the characterization of his mundane domestic life:
' "An apple a day keeps the doctor away", he enlightened Mrs Babbit, for quite the first time in fourteen hours.'
Also his comic takes on advertising and religion (which he focussed on more fully in later work 'Elmer Gantry'.)
The realisation that this is all there is, is as relevant today as back in the 1920s, and this was an excellent read. ( )
  starbox | Jul 9, 2016 |
This book would had have been better if Babbit had made unexpected drunken love to Sir Gerald or something, but unfortunately, he didn't, and this was an altogether waste of time.
  Peter_Scissors | Jun 21, 2016 |
Could not get into it. ( )
  MahanaU | Feb 26, 2016 |
Babbitt is the paragon of the middle aged, successful American businessman and petty bourgeois. Everything is going well until midlife crisis knocking on his door. Neither he nor his family or colleagues are unable to handle the situation... for a while. After that of course everything goes like it was before. The Hungarian translation is very old fashioned unfortunately. ( )
  TheCrow2 | Dec 16, 2015 |
From the beginning it is clear that things are never going to work out in a way which causes Babbitt to feel personal fulfillment and any sort of a real happiness, and he seems to be aware of this. To keep his livelihood he has to participate in the conformist culture of business Zenith, and this culture actively squashes independent thought. He did have one opportunity for real human interaction, with Paul Riesling, but that opportunity is taken away. Sometimes George Babbitt searches for some moral compass but he always ends up disappointed in the people who he thinks might have this and his understanding of what is ethical does not change.

We still have this issue. We have become more sophisticated in language use but the we-are-good and they-are-bad sort of polar thinking has continued in various formats. Independent thought and action is tolerated more in some places than others, but it often seems to be seen as lack of willingness to engage in the larger spirit of community. Babbitt experienced this expectation of conformity spread throughout his whole life and he cannot in the end escape the advantages of having a group of people wielding power to support one of its own. This may be because Babbitt has no sense of his individual identity separate from the groups that have claimed him.

This was a better and ultimately more enduring book than Arrowsmith. Even though the reader knows from the beginning that Babbitt is not headed anywhere good, there are moments of humor and compassion for him. ( )
  karmiel | Aug 20, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (26 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sinclair Lewisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
To Edith Wharton.
First words
The towers of Zenith aspired above the morning mist; austere towers of steel and cement and limestone, sturdy as cliffs and delicate as silver rods.
When Sinclair Lewis published Main Street in 1920, he was the author of four inconsequential novels that had appeared over the preceding six years. (Introduction)
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553214861, Mass Market Paperback)

When Babbitt was first published in 1922, fans gleefully hailed its scathing portrait of a crass, materialistic nation; critics denounced it as an unfair skewering of the American businessman. Sparking heated literary debate, Babbitt became a controversial classic, securing Sinclair Lewis’s place as one of America’s preeminent social commentators.

Businessman George F. Babbitt loves the latest appliances, brand names, and the Republican Party. In fact, he loves being a solid citizen even more than he loves his wife. But Babbitt comes to resent the middle-class trappings he has worked so hard to acquire. Realizing that his life is devoid of meaning, he grows determined to transcend his trivial existence and search for greater purpose. Raising thought-provoking questions while yielding hilarious consequences, and just as relevant today as ever, Babbitt’s quest for meaning forces us to confront the Babbitt in ourselves—and ponder what it truly means to be an American.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:59 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Tale of a coniving, prosperous real estate man who becomes totally corrupt.

» see all 18 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.69)
1 17
1.5 3
2 35
2.5 8
3 153
3.5 48
4 237
4.5 25
5 106


17 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

» Publisher information page

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 109,737,614 books! | Top bar: Always visible