Main Street - Sinclair Lewis - Страница 1 из 629


MAIN STREET
By Sinclair Lewis
To James Branch Cabell and Joseph Hergesheimer
This is America--a town of a few thousand, in a region of wheat and corn
and dairies and little groves.
The town is, in our tale, called "Gopher Prairie, Minnesota." But its
Main Street is the continuation of Main Streets everywhere. The story
would be the same in Ohio or Montana, in Kansas or Kentucky or Illinois,
and not very differently would it be told Up York State or in the
Carolina hills.
Main Street is the climax of civilization. That this Ford car might
stand in front of the Bon Ton Store, Hannibal invaded Rome and Erasmus
wrote in Oxford cloisters. What Ole Jenson the grocer says to Ezra
Stowbody the banker is the new law for London, Prague, and the
unprofitable isles of the sea; whatsoever Ezra does not know and
sanction, that thing is heresy, worthless for knowing and wicked to
consider.
Our railway station is the final aspiration of architecture. Sam
Clark's annual hardware turnover is the envy of the four counties which
constitute God's Country. In the sensitive art of the Rosebud Movie
Palace there is a Message, and humor strictly moral.
Such is our comfortable tradition and sure faith. Would he not betray
himself an alien cynic who should otherwise portray Main Street, or
distress the citizens by speculating whether there may not be other
faiths?
CHAPTER I
I
ON a hill by the Mississippi where Chippewas camped two generations ago,
a girl stood in relief against the cornflower blue of Northern sky.


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