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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.
Ann Douglas teaches English at Columbia University. Her books include Terrible Honesty: Mongrel Manhattan in the 1920s and The Feminization of American Culture.
If you are looking for a plot driven story, then this may not satisfy. However, if you do not approach the story with the same kind of expectations you might bring to a work of... Read morePublished on April 10 2004 by Megan Lambert
Of course there is self-pity, but too much of this amounts to contempt. Studs Lonigan is a stark, murderous story of things going wrong and continuing to go wrong until life seems... Read morePublished on Oct. 23 2002 by asphlex
An aimless work of stark realism, "Studs Lonigan" has the distinction of being one of the earliest Irish American bildungsromans, a trilogy of novels covering the later half of its... Read morePublished on Sept. 23 2002 by A.J.
I have often heard it said that Studs Lonnigan is not art, that it is too true to life and that true art is not this realistic. Read morePublished on May 10 2002 by Janice H. Kasten
As the trilogy opens in 1916 Chicago, young Studs Lonigan is a horny lazy 15 year old anti-Semite racist punk. Read morePublished on Nov. 4 2001 by Orrin C. Judd
I will leave it to others to give you a synopsis of the trilogy. My purpose is to dispel some misperceptions regarding Lonigan and his community. Read morePublished on July 15 2001 by William J. Moran
I get the feeling that this novel is not so much a work of fiction but is rather an lengthy autobiography. Read morePublished on May 20 2001 by Wordsworth
Farrell's groundbreaking work is perhaps the best example of American naturalism that we have. It is the story of the rather brief life of the working class Irish protagonist,... Read morePublished on Sept. 12 2000 by Tyler Smith