Main Street

Main Street: The Story of Carol Kennicott 

Published 1920, Harcourt, Brace and Howe.

The first of the Orange and Blue series.

First Edition, First Issue. Perfect Type, Pages 54 and 387.

Previous owners' names inscribed on first two leaves. No Dust Jacket. Condition Very Good.

This is the book that established Sinclair Lewis as a great American novelist, the story of Carol Kennicott, a liberal, free-spirited young woman. Some consider this the first feminist novel, by a male writer no less!

Carol's husband Will convinces her to live in his home-town of Gopher Prairie, Minnesota (a town modeled on Sauk Centre, Minnesota, the author's birthplace). Carol is appalled at the backwardness of Gopher Prairie. But her disdain for the town's physical ugliness and smug conservatism compels her to reform it. She speaks with its members about progressive changes, joins women's clubs, distributes literature, and holds parties to liven up Gopher Prairie's inhabitants. Despite her friendly, but ineffective efforts, she is constantly derided by the leading cliques. She finds comfort and companionship outside her social class. These companions are taken from her one by one. In her unhappiness, Carol leaves her husband and moves for a time to Washington, D.C., but she eventually returns.

The book proved to be a runaway best seller, ultimately selling over a quarter-million copies, unprecedented for the time. This was a period when print runs of ten thousand to twenty thousand copies was the norm.