Studs Lonigan : a trilogy

by James T. Farrell

Hardcover, 2004




New York : Library of America, 2004.


Collected here in one volume is James T. Farrell's renowned trilogy of the youth, early manhood, and death of Studs Lonigan: Young Lonigan, The Young Manhood of Studs Lonigan, and Judgment Day. In this relentlessly naturalistic portrait, Studs starts out his life full of vigor and ambition, qualities that are crushed by the Chicago youth's limited social and economic environment. Studs's swaggering and vicious comrades, his narrow family, and his educational and religious background lead him to a life of futile dissipation. Ann Douglas provides an illuminating introductory essay to Farrell's masterpiece, one of the greatest novels of American literature. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member NoLongerAtEase
Certainly worthy of its place in the canon of "classic American fiction", Farrell's first and greatest work is a stark depiction of life and death among Chicago's South-side Irish.

The trilogy is often pegged as an example of "naturalism" or "realism" ala Dresier. It is also typically taken to
Show More
advance some kind of social determinism as its main thesis (by this I mean the idea that the characters' actions and psychological development are almost wholly controlled and constrained by their social situation). Both of these things are fairly evident, but they aren't, to my mind, what make Studs Lonigan an interesting read.

The interesting part is Studs himself, for all his racism, abusiveness, aimlessness, sloth, and other failings is very sympathetic character. Furthermore, his principle conflicts seem to be internal struggles that take place when his more benign, good natured interests conflict with his imagined tough guy persona (the one that is "the real stuff"). It Studs' felt need to live up to a reputation (real or imagined) earned in the 8th grade and, of course, conditioned by the local notions of "manhood" that seems to me to lead to his unfortunate end.
Show Less
LibraryThing member DinadansFriend
This is a novel originally designated as a contemporary best seller that has become a classic. It's a fine novel and one of the best explorations of a not-very bright mind that exists in world literature. Modern Americans should read this book. The Modern Democrats will want to be able to help
Show More
Studs, the Republicans will burn the book because it knows too much. But if you want to know something of who you are, this is the book for men. Originally written as three novels from 1929 to 1934. I read this cover to cover twice, and still dip into it.
Show Less
LibraryThing member RoseCityReader
I understand readers who complain about the book seeming dated. The slang the characters use, their clothes, even some of their concerns, are anachronisms now. But it strikes me as a spot-on description of the rough world of second generation, Irish Catholic toughs in Chicago in the 1920s.
Show More
Definitely not the glittery 1920s of Fitzgerald or Dorothy Parker!

The final book of the trilogy, Judgment Day, is the longest of the three and my favorite. It has a lot more going on than just what is in Studs Lonigan’s head.

This final volume really gives a compelling view of the Great Depression, focusing as it does on the middle class characters and what they lose because of the depression. Because these people have jobs, own their own businesses, invest in real estate, speculate on the stock market, they seem more familiar and relevant to me than dirt farmers (Grapes of Wrath), labor agitators (USA Trilogy), or other soup line characters from books and movies about the Great Depression.

Except for compulsive “list” readers, I would recommend skipping the first two volumes and only reading Judgment Day. It stands alone and, I think, is the best of the three.
Show Less
LibraryThing member skylightbooks
Sadly overlooked and often dismissed as simply a "Great Depression" novel, Studs is a massive epic of working class literature. This is the story of a guy who wants nothing more from life than the respect of his fellows, and how, ultimately, he is crushed under the weight of that need. - Justin
LibraryThing member jmcdbooks
Rated: C
Farrell writes a quasi-Joycian style epic trilogy covering the life and thinking of a Irish-Catholic-wantabe living on the Southside of Chicago from a teenager during pre-WWI until his early death during the depression.

Best line: "Misery loves company, but what the hell good does company
Show More

I'm not a fan of the Joycian style. Ulysses and Portrait was a beating for me. I value the authors who can cut to the essense of the experience.
Show Less
LibraryThing member jwhenderson
The first time I read this novel I was in high school while a subsequent reading was for a book group. Farrell is one of the American naturalists. He chose to use his own personal knowledge of Irish-American life on the South Side of Chicago to create a description of an average American slowly
Show More
destroyed by the "spiritual poverty" of his environment. Both Chicago and the Irish-American Roman Catholic Church of that era are described in detail, and faulted. Farrell describes Studs sympathetically as Studs slowly deteriorates, changing from a tough but fundamentally good-hearted, adventurous teenage boy to an embittered, physically weak alcoholic.
While Farrell exhibits a gritty realism in his story of Chicago his prose has too many "rough" edges for my taste. The book seems dated in a way that does not happen with Dreiser or Norris, both of whom I admire more than Farrell.
Show Less


Local notes

Library of America



Similar in this library

Page: 0.178 seconds