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Stoner by John Williams

Stoner (original 1965; edition 1965)

by John Williams, Edzard Krol

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,9911941,908 (4.26)1 / 264
Authors:John Williams
Other authors:Edzard Krol
Info:Amsterdam Lebowski 2012
Collections:Your library, Favorites, 2012
Tags:American fiction, English, US, midwest, integrity, 1965, historical fiction, based on true facts, fiction, biography, read in 2012, HLNF

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Stoner by John Williams (1965)


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English (142)  Dutch (23)  Italian (10)  Spanish (4)  German (3)  Catalan (2)  Swedish (2)  French (2)  Hebrew (1)  Norwegian (1)  Finnish (1)  Hungarian (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (193)
Showing 1-5 of 142 (next | show all)
This book is about a very ordinary life but it is so well written that at times it is riveting.
William Stoner grows up as an only child on a farm in Missouri, raised by hard working, stoic and silent parents. This stoicism and passiveness inhabit Stoner throughout his life as he faces several problems with quiet determination and personal strength. His father decides that he should enrol at the new Agriculture course at the university of Columbia, which he does without protest. During his undergraduate work, he develops a passion for English literature and abandons his agriculture studies. He meets three important influences, Archer Sloane, Gordon Finch and David Massey. At the out break of WWI, Stoner decides not to enlist but Finch and Massey do. Massey is killed and Finch returns to the university and progresses up the university bureaucracy,becoming Stoner's one and only friend and defendant. Stoner meets and marries Edith, from St. Louis, and after a month of marriage, discovers she is completely neurotic and his marriage a failure. This is where his genetic makeup kicks in and he lives his life with quiet stoicism and indifference. Although they have a child, Grace, their marriage is empty. He decides to become a passionate teacher and a student favourite, obtains tenure and has a confrontation with the dean Hollis Lorax. University politics kick in and Stoner's teaching schedule is manipulated by Lorax as punishment. Stoner meets and falls in love with a former student Katherine Driscoll. For the first time in his life, he is happy. Of course, the affair cannot last and she moves away to avoid a scandal. The rest of his life involves teaching and his retirement and a painful death from cancer.
The prose of this book is magnificent and this ordinary, dull life is made inuresting and fulfilling ( )
  MaggieFlo | Jul 31, 2016 |
I guess technically this was a depressing book, but the main character was so damn passive that I couldn't empathize with him. When he did make decisions, most of the time his ensuing misery was his own fault. I mean, come on, marrying a girl who clearly isn't interested after knowing her for like three weeks and then raping her repeatedly in her sleep is not the recipe for a happy relationship. No wonder she hates you, buddy. ( )
  xicohtli | Jul 20, 2016 |
Starts slowly, but it really grows on you. In the end I felt a kind of relief, knowing that Stoner was atleast somewhat satisfied with how his life had been.
  bartt95 | Jun 22, 2016 |
This is the quiet story of the quiet life of a quiet English professor at a Midwestern university. A lot of the story is about the disappointments he faces--his marriage is a failure and his career never progresses due to a conflict he has with the head of his department. In his early 40's, Stoner, "could see nothing before him that he wished to enjoy and little behind him that he cared to remember."

I had heard amazing things about this book, and had very high expectations of it before I began reading. It is a good book, but I wasn't blown away by it. Of the two books I have read by Williams, I would say Augustus is superior to Stoner.

3 stars ( )
  arubabookwoman | Jun 18, 2016 |
It is a quiet book, but it doesnt fail to touch you as Stoner works hard at the job he loves, and which defines his life. ( )
  siok | Jun 4, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 142 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Williams, Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Krol, EdzardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McGahern, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rekiaro, IlkkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robben, BernhardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rodell, MarieContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Torrescasana, AlbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated to my friends and former colleagues in the Department of English at the University of Missouri. They will recognize at once that it is a work of fiction--that no character portrayed in it is based upon any person, living or dead, and that no event has its counterpart in the reality we knew at the University of Missouri. They will also realize that I have taken certain liberties, both physical and historical, with the University of Missouri, so that in effect it, too, is a fictional place.
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William Stoner entered the University of Missouri as a freshman in the year 1910, at the age of nineteen.
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"Born the child of a poor farmer in Missouri, William Stoner is urged by his parents to study new agriculture techniques at the state university. Digging instead into the texts of Milton and Shakespeare, Stoner falls under the spell of the unexpected pleasures of English literature, and decides to make it his life. Stoner is the story of that life" -- publisher description (January 2007).… (more)

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2 editions of this book were published by NYRB Classics.

Editions: 1590171993, 1590173937

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