Details
Main Street
Sinclair Lewis, 1920
LEWIS, Sinclair (1885-1951). Main Street. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Howe, 1920.

First edition in the exceptionally rare first issue jacket. Instead of the advance reviews found on the still uncommon second issue jacket, the first issue bears a blurb about Main Street focused on Carol Kennicott. The official publication day was October 23 but the first, glowing reviews had appeared already a few days before. "[Franklin Pierce] Adams had long been calling for the Great American Novel—'G.A.N.'—and Main Street was it." In his column on October 19, Lewis's novel received its baptism in public print: "For a prominent position on the all-American team we nominate Sinclair Lewis, author of 'Main Street,' a high achievement. Mr. Lewis's pictures of Gopher Prairie, one taken by Carol Kennicott and one by Bea Sorenson, is a fine piece of imaginative poetry, and his recording of the commonplace conversation is perfection of satirical reporting." And on October 20, the even more influential Heywood Broun, literary editor and sports writer for the New York Tribune devoted his column to it, calling Main Street, "almost disconcertingly good." See Richard Lingeman, "Sinclair Lewis Arrives," New England Review, Winter 2002. With reviews like these, it is no wonder that the dust jacket advertising the book was very quickly replaced to feature them. No examples of the first issue jacket appear in the auction records of RBH or ABPC; it is virtually unknown.

Octavo. Original blue cloth stamped in orange (few spots to endpapers, paper edges and first and last several pages), dust jacket by G.K. Stevens (folds and corners with some chipping, chips touching lettering on spine panel ends and lower panel, spine panel sunned, light toning/spotting); custom chemise and blue morocco gilt slipcase.
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