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Word for the Wise February 07, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Sir Thomas More & Sinclair Lewis

Today we honor two writers who share more than a birthday of February 7th. (来源:老牌的英语学习网站 http://www.EnglishCN.com)

We begin more than five centuries ago, with the 1478 birth of Sir Thomas More. That English statesman and author titled his best-known work Utopia, a play on the Greek words for "no place" and "good place." More's Utopia was an imaginary country with ideal laws and social conditions; its non-literary applications range from "an imaginary and indefinitely remote place" to "a place of ideal perfection, especially in laws, government, and social conditions;" to "an impractical scheme for social improvement."

Twentieth century social critic Sinclair Lewis, born on this date in 1885, had a decidedly bleaker view of society. Among that author's various books are Babbitt and Main Street. Babbitt, a stereotypical American businessman, has come to refer to a person who conforms unthinkingly and complacently to prevailing middle-class standards of respectability, who makes a cult of material success, and who is contemptuous or incapable of appreciating artistic or intellectual values. The literary Main Street portrayed materialistic provinicialism as characteristic of life in small town America; it is credited (or blamed) for influencing the development of the adjectival Main Street, of or relating to the mediocre, materialistic, or drab aspects of average U.S. town and city life.

 
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