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Studs Lonigan (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics) Paperback – November 1, 2001

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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics
  • Paperback: 896 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (November 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141186739
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141186733
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #568,130 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"The most powerful naturalist who ever worked in the American tradition." -- Alfred Kazin --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

James Thomas Farrell (1904—1979) was born in Chicago to a struggling family of second-generation Irish Catholic immi grants. In 1907, his father, James Farrell, a teamster unable to support his growing family, placed young Jim with his maternal grandparents. It was his grandparents’ neighborhood in Chicago’s South Fifties that would provide the background to Farrell’s Studs Lonigan trilogy. Farrell worked his way through the University of Chicago, shedding his Catholic upbringing and absorbing the works of William James, John Dewey, Sigmund Freud, while reading widely in American and European literature: Herman Melville, Sherwood Anderson, H. L. Mencken, Sinclair Lewis, and James Joyce were critical influences on his literary development. “Slob” (1929), his first published story, was also his first render ing of the real life “Studs Lonigan,” a young man he had known growing up in Chicago. Farrell’s first novel, Young Lonigan was published in 1932, followed by The Young Manhood of Studs Lonigan (1934) and Judgment Day (1935)—the three volumes making up his celebrated Studs Lonigan trilogy. A prolific writer, Farrell left more than fifty books of stories and novels behind him when he died in 1979. Alongside his masterpiece Studs Lonigan, Farrell’s best-known works include the Danny O’Neill novels, A World I Never Made, No Star is Lost, Father and Son, and My Days of Anger. James T. Farrell’s Studs Lonigan trilogy is also available in Penguin Classics.

Ann Douglas teaches English at Columbia University. Her books include Terrible Honesty: Mongrel Manhattan in the 1920s and The Feminization of American Culture.

Customer Reviews

The writing and the storyline flow.
Michael Charles
Studs Lonigan is the best booking ever written about the growning up of one person sucess and failures.
He passes through his life hoping things will improve.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Tyler Smith on September 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
Farrell's groundbreaking work is perhaps the best example of American naturalism that we have. It is the story of the rather brief life of the working class Irish protagonist, Studs, who grows up and comes to manhood on the South Side of Chicago. Studs lives through poverty and the Depression, but not without paying a terrible psychic price. Through a relentless piling up of detail, Farrell is able to convincingly present his thesis, that social, political, cultural, and most of all economic forces conspire to decisively shape human character and choice.
The novel unflinchingly portrays the violence, chauvanism, and racism that pervades the lives of Studs and his friends. They despise those more privileged than themselves, have complete contempt for women, and fiercely distrust anyone from outside their neighborhood, particularly those with a different skin color. They wear their toughness with pride and have no patience for expressions of sensitivity or remorse.
Yet from the opening chapter, Farrell takes pains to show that the young Lonigan is not immune to feelings of tenderness and even love. His portrayal of Studs' romantic adolescent longing for Lucy is convincing and touching, and the author's presentation of it early in the book makes more convincing his documentation of Studs' progressively hardening view of life.
Another key element of the trilogy is its sketching of a character increasingly dwarfed by forces beyond his control and understanding. In one key scene, Studs, close to despair as he feels his life slipping away from him, stands by the shores of Lake Michigan and watches the waves pound against the rocks.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
Not since Dreiser's, "An American Tragedy", have I read a book that described the spiritual depravity of teen age youth and the ignorance that accompanies it. Farrell's masterpiece made the top 100 for this century at #29 and certainly deserves its place there.
The book is actually three shorter books combined into one massive saga about a young man named Bill "Studs" Lonigan. Studs is a Catholic, Irish-American who lives in the rough and tumble neighborhood of Chicago during the early portion of this century. The story starts off with Studs being 15 and thinking he knows everything and willing to prove it with his fists. Dropping out of high school to hang around a pool room, he and his friends primarily engage in fights, drinking and picking up women.
Studs is the leader of his friends and always feels the need to prove himself by fighting and out drinking them. Despite hearing lectures from his priest about the dangers of drink and sex, he continues to engage in these activities. However, time takes it toll on Studs's health. By 1930, the Depression and his failing health (from his activities in his 20's) force him to realize that he isn't the man who used to be.
Farrell depicts the turbulent times perfectly. The reader is draw into the descriptions and accounts of Chicago at the end of the first World War, the socialist movement, the rise in popularity of Sinclair Lewis, and many other events. The roaring 20's are also written about and the reader is taken through gambling halls, speakeasies, and whore houses. Farrell paints a very bleak picture of the Depression as well.
While there doesn't seem to be many answers in the book, it does depict that ignorance and a lack of spirituality wreaks havoc upon lives.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Daniel P. Smith on July 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
One reason I love this book is it gives me the feeling of being in a specific time and place. I've read about the Twenties and Thirties--Frederick Lewis Allen's _Only Yesterday_--but _Studs Lonigan_ brings it alive. James T. Farrell takes me into a dance marathon, a movie palace, a Knights of Columbus initiation and somehow tells me the things I want to know so that I have the illusion of understanding what it was really like to be there.
James T. Farrell paints a picture for me far better than, say, F. Scott Fitzgerald. I never really understand what's going on in Fitzgerald's stories. He takes it for granted you are living in the Twenties and know what they're all about. Farrell _shows_ me the Twenties.
_Studs Lonigan_ will either leave you cold or grab you. If it grabs you, you will find that it's the kind of book you just lose yourself in. It will become your world for a few days.
He builds layer on layer of prosaic detail. He seems to me to be exceptionally honest about what everyday life is really like. One poignant passage near the end of _Young Lonigan_ describing the day the fifteen-year-old Studs spends in the park with Lucy, as his thoughts dart from one topic to another.
One moment his thoughts are exalted: "He took squints at everything from different angles and watched how their appearances would change... he listened to the sound of the park, and it seemed as if they were all, somehow, part of himself, and he was part of them, and them and himself were free from the drag of his body that had aches and dirty thoughts, and got sick, and could only be in one place at a time...."
The next, they are romantic: "They sat.
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