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Stoner (New York Review Books Classics) by…
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Stoner (New York Review Books Classics) (original 1965; edition 2006)

by John Williams (Author), John McGahern (Introduction)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,3273061,555 (4.28)1 / 337
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)
Member:toefferich
Title:Stoner (New York Review Books Classics)
Authors:John Williams (Author)
Other authors:John McGahern (Introduction)
Info:NYRB Classics (2006), Edition: New York Review Books Classics, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:978-0099561545

Work Information

Stoner by John Williams (1965)

  1. 40
    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
    Goodbye, Mr. Chips by James Hilton (Booksloth)
  4. 20
    Mr. Bridge by Evan S. Connell (agmlll)
  5. 10
    The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington (potenza)
    potenza: Comparable tone / period / moral messaging.
  6. 10
    Canada by Richard Ford (shaunie)
  7. 00
    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
  8. 00
    Larry's Party by Carol Shields (GCPLreader)
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» See also 337 mentions

English (239)  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 (306)
Showing 1-5 of 239 (next | show all)
One of my all time favorite books. Excellent. ( )
  jstruzzi | Jan 14, 2022 |
One of my all time favorite books. Excellent. ( )
  jstruzzi | Jan 14, 2022 |
I don't know what all the hype is about with this novel. I didn't find the main character or the plot very compelling. It feels quite outdated.

The main character William Stoner is just talented and hardworking enough to become a professor of English, but has a mediocre career. He goes through life with little self-awareness and feels unfulfilled. His suffering is largely due to his own personality, yet he feels victimized. While cocooned in his university life, the Great Depression and two World Wars are happening to other people.

The book was published in 1965, but the main female characters are so unflatteringly Victorian. At best they are described as pale, thin, delicate, fragile creatures who take to their beds when they feel unhappy. Otherwise, they are doomed, mentally unstable, or marginalized.

I was very disappointed. ( )
1 vote AMAhearn | Jan 3, 2022 |
"In his youth he had given [passion] freely, without thought...He had, in odd ways, given it to every moment of his life, and had perhaps given it most fully when he was unaware of his giving. It was a passion neither of the mind or of the flesh; rather, it was a force that comprehended them both, as if they were but the matter of love, its specific substance. To a woman or to a poem, it said simply: Look! I am alive." ( )
  FinallyJones | Nov 17, 2021 |
Review to follow. I don't how I can love a book which was just so relentlessly depressing. And yet. And yet. ( )
  lloydshep | Nov 4, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 239 (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
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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.
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.
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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.

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NYRB Classics

2 editions of this book were published by NYRB Classics.

Editions: 1590171993, 1590173937

 

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