Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis

By Sinclair Lewis

A private trouble jars a middle-aged actual property agent from his complacency during this satire of middle-class American existence. Sinclair Lewis' nice novel deals a scathing portrait of the implications of clinging to standard values.

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Sample text

In this way, the super-nature of God is absorbed into the fabric of a preternatural environment, becoming not a distant and wholly-other Creator, but part of Ambrosio’s chosen path. In the following passage, Ambrosio is first tempted by Matilda to raise a demon to help seduce Antonia, the object of Ambrosio’s lust. Matilda mocks Ambrosio’s fear that this will lose him his salvation. ‘Shall I renounce for ever my title to salvation? Shall my eyes seek a sight which I know will blast them? ’ ‘Are you then God’s Friend at present?

Desmond goes further, claiming that the in-between space unmasks this freedom as counterfeit. 16 Freedom through participation, by contrast, lies in the transcending potency of the in-between. The transcendence of this freedom implies movement, in this case movement towards the other, and also change. Moreover, the nature of movement and change mean that inhabiting the in-between is to recognise that it is unstable. It is a ‘potent’ space. The in-between, then, reveals not only the transcendental possibilities of the self, but the possibilities of transcendence itself.

Søren Kierkegaard, The Concept of Dread, trans. Walter Lowrie (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1946), 110. Original emphasis. 40. Kierkegaard, The Concept of Dread, 106. 41. A. Symonds, 1886, reprinted in The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, ed.  Danahay (Plymouth: Broadview, 2005), 126. 42.  L. Varnado, Haunted Presence: The Numinous in Gothic Fiction (Tuscaloosa AL: University of Alabama Press, 1987), 6. 43. Rudolf Otto, The Idea of the Holy: An Inquiry into the Non-Rational Factor in the Idea of the Divine and its Relation to the Rational, trans.

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