Library of America, Hardcover, 9781931082556, 988pp.
Publication Date: February 9, 2004
An unparalleled example of American naturalism, the Studs Lonigan trilogy follows the hopes and dissipations of its remarkable main character?a would-be ?tough guy? and archetypal adolescent, born to Irish-American parents on Chicago's South Side?through the turbulent years of World War I, the Roaring Twenties, and the Great Depression. The three novels?"Young Lonigan, The Young Manhood of Studs Lonigan," and "Judgment Day"?offer a vivid sense of the textures of real life: of the institutions of Catholicism, the poolroom and the dance marathon, romance and marriage, gangsterism and ethnic rivalry, and the slang of the street corner. Cited as an inspiration by writers as diverse as Kurt Vonnegut and Frank McCourt, "Studs Lonigan" stands as a masterpiece of social realism in the ranks of John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath" and Theodore Dreiser's "An American Tragedy."
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.