HomeGroupsTalkExploreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

Stoner (1965)

by John Williams

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,5843161,521 (4.28)1 / 338
William Stoner is born at the end of the nineteenth century into a dirt-poor Missouri farming family. Sent to a university to study agronomy, he instead falls in love with English literature and embraces a scholar's life. As the years pass, Stoner encounters a series of disappointments: marriage into a "proper" family estranges him from his parents; his career is stymied; his wife and daughter turn coldly away from him; a transforming experience of new love ends under threat of scandal. Driven ever deeper within himself, Stoner rediscovers the stoic silence of his forebears and confronts an essential solitude. William Stoner emerges not only as an archetypal American but as an unlikely existential hero, standing in stark relief against an unforgiving world.… (more)
  1. 50
    Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell (agmlll)
  2. 30
    The Professor's House by Willa Cather (shaunie, Petroglyph)
    Petroglyph: Both "Stoner" and "The professor's house" deal with a small-town university professor vaguely comfortable with his family life, who fits uneasily in a new life that sorta kinda happened to him while he was focusing on his work. Both present compelling immersions in bittersweet nostalgia and the ever-present sense that life could have gone entirely different (and perhaps it should have).… (more)
  3. 30
    Mr. Bridge by Evan S. Connell (agmlll)
  4. 30
    Goodbye, Mr. Chips by James Hilton (Booksloth)
  5. 10
    The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (SCPeterson)
    SCPeterson: Melancholy main characters whose devotion to duty is met with disappointment and lack of fulfillment in life and love
  6. 10
    The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington (potenza)
    potenza: Comparable tone / period / moral messaging.
  7. 10
    Canada by Richard Ford (shaunie)
  8. 00
    Larry's Party by Carol Shields (GCPLreader)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

» See also 338 mentions

English (245)  Dutch (22)  Italian (13)  Spanish (6)  German (6)  Catalan (5)  French (4)  Swedish (3)  Danish (2)  Norwegian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Finnish (1)  Hungarian (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Piratical (1)  All languages (312)
Showing 1-5 of 245 (next | show all)
But William Stoner knew of the world in a way that few of his younger colleagues could understand. Deep in him, beneath his memory, was the knowledge of hardship and hunger and endurance and pain. Though he seldom thought of his early years on the Booneville farm, there was always near his consciousness the blood knowledge of his inheritance, given him by forefathers whose lives were obscure and hard and stoical and whose common ethic was to present to an oppressive world faces that were expressionless and hard and bleak.

William Stoner leaves the hardship of the farm behind for the often ruthless and bitter world of academia, driven by his love for literature and his passion for knowledge. His stoic isolation is heartrending. He is, I believe, Everyman: the ordinary person who encounters more obstacles than helping hands in life, but who gets glimpses of what might have been, should have been, if life were fair or if we could know our path before we take it.

It would be easy to dismiss Stoner as a failure. He has no success in his marriage or his professional life, he does nothing remarkable or lasting. And yet, I did not put down this novel thinking about how he had failed externally, but rather where he had succeeded internally; how he had held on to his sense of self and his love for both one woman, knowledge and literature and refused to be beaten by the constant barrage by those who wished to utterly destroy him.

“Lust and learning,” Katherine once said. “That’s really all there is, isn’t it?”

Perhaps she is right, but I think you could add love and self-respect to the list and you would have a picture of Stoner and the man that he is.

This book is a slow-paced revelation and it contains one of the sweetest love scenes I have ever read. It was so poignant that it brought literal tears to my eyes. It was very subtle, but stirred my emotions, for it was a description not of sex, but of love. It struck me that Stoner is a man who loves for real. He loves his few friends, literature, his daughter, and one woman--and he loves them unconditionally and unceasingly.

This is, at its core, a book about opposites and antagonisms; about love and hate, youth and old age, success and failure, hope and hopelessness. Are we what others see and decide we are, or what we perceive ourselves to be? The surface or the depth? I think we do not look at Stoner with disdain because he is so genuine beneath his skin. He is not the man his colleagues, students, or wife believe him to be, he is the man he believes himself to be and he refuses to be defined by others. Perhaps we cry for him because we admire him. He never gets a break, it seems, but he does not whine, he soldiers on. He stands for something, even when the cost is high.

If you don’t know this novel, you should; if it is sitting on your shelf, I assure you you are passing over the gold to get to the tin. Read it because it is not a book about one man, it is a book about all of us.
( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
Love of literature is the only bright spot in the main character's life. The rest is relentless sorrow and conflict. Many of the attitudes portrayed now seem a period piece of the first half of the 20th century (the time period of the novel). ( )
  jpe9 | Aug 4, 2022 |
Más allá de la grandeza o mediocridad de una obra, de la complejidad de su estructura, la brillantez de su estilo o la elaboración de los personajes; hay libros que acaparan nuestra atención desde las primeras frases. Stoner es uno de ellos. Un texto en el que la cotidianeidad es la reina, donde el protagonista apenas si alcanza fugazmente a gozar y sufrir de esa manifestación de la locura divina que es la pasión: con su hija, su amante, sus libros y sus clases. Un personaje que acepta los hechos pero sin la grandeza de un estoico ni la imperturbabilidad de un monje budista, pues los acata pero no los asume. Su aceptación proviene de su debilidad, de la ausencia de lucha. John Williams nos ofrece una historia triste pero especular de la vida de muchos hombres y, por eso mismo, cruelmente subyugante. ( )
  GilgameshUruk | Jul 17, 2022 |
A book to drive me crazy- I had 2 very strong reactions (and one middling one). To start negative, the wife ... the awful wife- Edith- is not only an "awful character in fiction" (meaning evil), she's just pathetic- an awful creation by the author. What was he thinking? I read his editor tried to get the author to soften / explain her, but it is flat and terrible- yes, she seems only created to torment the husband - ick- it isn't real! And I don't even like the mistress, Miss perfect I guess- he really does seem to have a woman problem (or something). The book was also slow at times. But... what an amazingly great book. The arc of the character- reserved, but not without spirit- carrying on regardless marks the heroic action of just sticking with it. And the drifting away at the end was so well done... so immediate and poignant - and tied to the dark beginning of the book. A whale of a book. ( )
  apende | Jul 12, 2022 |
Ez a könyv bizonyság arra, hogy a teljesség az egyszerűség eszközével is ábrázolható. És amellett is elég erős érv, hogy csakis így ábrázolható – bár természetesen ebben azért nem lehetünk annyira biztosak. A története maga a cselekmény-minimum: "1910-ben, amikor a Missouri Egyetemre beiratkozott, William Stoner tizenkilenc éves volt. Nyolc évvel később, az első világháború tetőpontján megszerezte doktori fokozatát, oktatói állást kapott az egyetemen, és ott is tanított egészen 1956-ban bekövetkezett haláláig", ennyi, és semmi több, és ez már az első mondatban felskiccelve. Már a cím is (ízlelgessük: Stoner) a végletekig vitt, már-már provokatív eszköztelenség maga, és Williams a későbbiekben is lenyűgöző következetességgel tartja magát a tisztaság és pontosság eszméjéhez. Stoner története a magány története, Stoner maga pedig a világirodalom egyik legvédtelenebb, és (talán ezért) legszerethetőbb figuráinak egyike. Hozzá hasonló naponta száz, sőt (budapestiek esetében) ezer is elsétál mellettünk, úgy, hogy észre sem vesszük, Williams pedig képes úgy bemutatni őt, mint a világ köldökét, egy embert, aki önmagában egy univerzum – pedig hát mi történik vele? Szinte semmi. Az író mindezt teszi úgy, hogy nem pszichologizál, nem mászik bele senki fejébe – csak leírja a puszta eseményeket és a rájuk adott reflexiókat, én pedig egyszerre érzem, hogy mindent tudok Stonerről, és hogy nem tudok róla semmit. Visszafogott, keserű és mégis: gyöngéd szöveg. Elképesztő írói teljesítmény. (És a fordító előtt is le a kalappal: Gy. Horváth László.) Per pillanat az idei év könyvének tartom, de hogy a legszűkebb listán ott a helye, az ziher. ( )
  Kuszma | Jul 2, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 245 (next | show all)
Part of “Stoner” ’s greatness is that it sees life whole and as it is, without delusion yet without despair. Stoner realizes at the last that he found what he sought at the university not in books but in his love and study of them, not in some obscure scholarly Grail but in its pursuit. His life has not been squandered in mediocrity and obscurity; his undistinguished career has not been mulish labor but an act of devotion. He has been a priest of literature, and given himself as fully as he could to the thing he loved. The book’s conclusion, such as it is—I don’t know whether to call it a consolation or a warning—is that there is nothing better in this life. The line, “It hardly mattered to him that the book was forgotten and served no use; and the question of its worth at any time seemed almost trivial,” is like the novel’s own epitaph. Its last image is of the book falling from lifeless fingers into silence.
added by SnootyBaronet | editNew Yorker, Tim Kreider (Oct 20, 2013)
 

» Add other authors (27 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
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
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.
First words
William Stoner entered the University of Missouri as a freshman in the year 1910, at the age of nineteen.
Quotations
He had dreamed of a kind of integrity, of a kind of purity that was entire; he had found compromise and the assaulting diversion of triviality. He had conceived wisdom, and at the end of the long years he had found ignorance.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

William Stoner is born at the end of the nineteenth century into a dirt-poor Missouri farming family. Sent to a university to study agronomy, he instead falls in love with English literature and embraces a scholar's life. As the years pass, Stoner encounters a series of disappointments: marriage into a "proper" family estranges him from his parents; his career is stymied; his wife and daughter turn coldly away from him; a transforming experience of new love ends under threat of scandal. Driven ever deeper within himself, Stoner rediscovers the stoic silence of his forebears and confronts an essential solitude. William Stoner emerges not only as an archetypal American but as an unlikely existential hero, standing in stark relief against an unforgiving world.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (4.28)
0.5
1 11
1.5 4
2 40
2.5 10
3 141
3.5 78
4 550
4.5 171
5 720

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

NYRB Classics

2 editions of this book were published by NYRB Classics.

Editions: 1590171993, 1590173937

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 173,689,726 books! | Top bar: Always visible