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Studs Lonigan (Studs Lonigan #1-3)

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  1,345 ratings  ·  72 reviews
An unparalleled example of American naturalism, the Studs Lonigan trilogy follows the hopes and dissipations of its remarkable main character, a would-be tough guy and archetypal adolescent, born to Irish-American parents on Chicago's South Side?through the turbulent years of World War I, the Roaring Twenties, and the Great Depression. The three novels, Young Lonigan, The ...more
Hardcover, 988 pages
Published February 9th 2004 by Library of America (first published 1935)
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The Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellBrave New World by Aldous HuxleyThe Grapes of Wrath by John SteinbeckOf Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Best Books of the Decade: 1930s
157th out of 369 books — 552 voters
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Community Reviews

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Moses Kilolo
The basic question when reading a book of this stature is whether it’s worth the time, the effort and the attempt to absorb it. Many who might have read this trilogy will have different opinions, of course. I suspect some, the not so patient, will throw it at a corner and say how sorry and silly it is. But with patience, and an open mind it is possible to find the gold for what this book is. There were, of course, those portions that made me want to abandon it, but on the whole the book was just ...more
Jul 17, 2008 Pete rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dudes of culture who are afraid of what God will think of them
Recommended to Pete by: Moacir PDSP
Broke my face. I suppose, partially owing to the nominal 'Studs,' i thought this was a slice of life depression novel about getting by or not. it's definitely about not getting by, but the Depression is not strictly speaking what this is about -- an old-fashioned, even for 1935, sex-obsessed, violent, crushingly sad and toweringly beautiful work of art. Makes Sister Carrie look like an issue of JANE Magazine. Ignore at your eternal peril.
Meh. Coming from Chicago(-ish), the setting and historical context of this book were interesting. And it was well written. But the main character, Studs, was kind of annoying. And self-centered. And mean. This may be an effective portrait of the slightly threatened, racist, misogynistic white American male in the first half of the 20th century, but, gosh darn it, do you know how many portraits of the slightly threatened, racist, misogynistic white American male in the first half of the 20th cent ...more
One of my great heroes, Studs Terkel -- born Louis Terkel-- adopted the name Studs because he was so affected by this book. I've had it on my list for a long time and have lived the full 874 pages for most of this hot summer. There is so much to talk about. In a nutshell, the book is incendiary; powerful; and eerie in its contemporary feel. Anyone who has ever glorified a past they never lived as being more "moral" or genteel? Should read this tour de force and quickly. They should have their ey ...more
Studs Lonigan, the great american dreamer. This character is similar in his abject failures to Jude The Obscure. An indolent and floundering wanna-be. He holds tightly to two fleeting moments in his life (an afternoon with a girl and a fight with a dude). He hopes for great things, dreams about them and gives us alot of introspection and yet he can achieve nothing because he never does anything except hang out in poolrooms, fight, talk with repugnance and vulgarity about women, and hope that som ...more
Who was Studs Lonigan? He was just another tough-guy wannabe who lived in the early part of the twentieth century. He was a lower middle-class Irish-American unable to escape the world he was born to. He was just like millions of other faceless man who lived at the same time. However, there was much more to him than that. Farrell reveals a complex inner dialogue that Studs is never able to really understand or express. The life of Studs is filled with racism, sexism, alcoholism - presented witho ...more
Studs Lonigan just lost a star, because, in rereading it, I found it rather flat. I still think it is a worthy--great, even--piece of American literature, but there is too much telling, not enough indistinctness. In reading Farrell's introduction, in which he states that his original intention was to portray youths without any spiritual grounding or true moral compass, I realize that the book is ahead of its time, as fiction that portrays dangerous, soulless youth plaguing American society is a ...more
Erik Simon
Here's one of those gems that came between the World Wars that, for whatever reason, has simply been forgotten. Through three novels, it chronicles the life story of this Irish kid, then man, in Chicago through the early decades of the last century. For people who love urban stories of immigrants just trying to get by in the rough new world, this is the book.
Growing up in a blue collar, Irish Catholic family, I was acutely aware of the paradoxes: The Irish are free-spirited rebels and poets in the vein of Oscar Wilde, but the Irish are also renowned for being cops, priests, and bigots.

The "Studs Lonigan Trilogy" encapsulates all of these contradictions. At face value, the bigotry and sexism of "Studs Lonigan" can be off putting, but a cursory check in about author James Farrell's history will re-iterate that he was just putting a mirror up to the wo
carl  theaker
Young Lonigan

A good read and complement to similar historical context books of the era such as
John Dos Passos, USA trilogy. Gives another and more personal perspective of the same
years. Studs isn't your hero type, he's presented with all his goods & bads.

In 1916 he graduates from what we'd call Junior High. His parents are proud that they
sacrificed to put him & his sister through Catholic school for a good education.
Studs though hasn't learned much and like his friends they all feel they
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Studs Lonigan (Young Lonigan, The Young Manhood of Studs Lonigan, Judgment Day)
James T. Farrell (1932,1934,1935) #29

May 16, 2009

This has to be the most offensive series of books that I have ever read. The racial insensitivity just kills me. Usually I get fed up with today’s double standards of “Racial Sensitivity”, and those who know me know that I am not a big fan of Political Correctness in general, but come on. I realize that this was the early thirties, but how a book like Slaughterhouse F
Jul 03, 2007 Jill rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History buffs, Chicago Natives, Adults not sensitive to off-color comments
This book contains its share of racial slurs, anti-feminist sentiment and all types of offensive comments. However, if you can stomach it, the point of view really lends to the tale. This book tells the story of a lifetime of excuses and missed opportunities as Studs makes his way through turn-of-the-century-and-beyond Chicago. Being from the city, I found the story to bear a great deal of historical weight and I really learned from the context.

James T. Farrell is the author of this book, but a
You cannot understand where you are if you don't know where you've been. James Farrell's "Studs Lonigan" is literature as instruction – a history lesson. Many aspects of our contemporary society, and the sustained political and social reaction to it, grow from the people and mores of Studs and his times. Many Goodreads reviewers expressed shock at the coarseness of the language, but political correctness and the acceptance of cultural diversity are recent phenomena in American life. Farrell's tr ...more
Greg and I began Young Lonigan a few weeks ago. I came across this author's name while preparing for a Naturialism course. Farrell seems to be one of the lesser known authors of the genre. Stusa is a funny character who is easy for a reader to become interested in. Farrell uses long tracts of listed descriptions. At times these sections can be tedious. We both noticed Farrell's roving point of view. The open lens of first perso stream of consciousness effectively shifts from one character to the ...more
First read on the sly from my parents' bookshelf for the "naughty parts." Reread later for the brilliance of Farrell.
A heartbreaking and vivid story, both as a portrait of working-class life in an earlier America and as a classically tragic tale of the life and death of a person, in many ways promising, whose life is blighted and finally destroyed by a combination of his own flaws and the obstacles presented by his environment. I read this in high school and found it a haunting story.
James Violand
Jun 29, 2014 James Violand rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone.
Shelves: own
Once you read this trilogy, you will never forget Studs. From his beginning to his end, you find yourself cheering Studs on and will suffer with his disappointments. A great American work.
The ethnic hatred and misogyny are really hard to deal but the depiction of an insular community and the stunted spiritual lives of its members could be written today.
I read this book after watching the mini series on TV. Good story, rather sad.
Farrell's trilogy is a landmark narrative of Irish-American urban life from World War I through the Depression. The books are rich, vivid and engrossing, though not without some major flaws. The first (Young Lonigan) neatly introduces and establishes the parameters of Studs Lonigan's life: the South Side Chicago neighborhood, the Lonigan family, the ever-present Catholic Church, within and against which the teenaged Studs struggles to find out who he is and who he'll become.

But the second book (
Don't let the straightforward style fool you, this is a difficult novel. It's not the style though, it's more the scope and content. Any readers particularly squeamish about a lot of racism, ethnic bigotry, sexism, and homophobia are advised to stay away, because the words "nigger" and "kike" are not used sparingly or glibly. I will admit that I was frustrated and sick of this book for a large percentage of it, but I know that the end effect would not have been the same if I didn't read it all. ...more
"Studs Lonigan" is an epic novel in the same vein as Dreiser's "An American Tragedy". It is unusual in that by merely reading the dust jacket and the Forward that Studs is going to die a young man. He is not an extraordinary person, but rather very ordinary, and perhaps typical of a certain class. Born and raised in an Irish neighborhood in Chicago Studs is steeped in racism, bigotry, and misogyny. His main goal in life is to be seen as the "tough" guy—the one that no one dares give any "crap" ...more
Thomas Wisnowski
The Studs Lonigan Trilogy describes the life of the young man Studs, in the beginning of the 20th century. The book begins at the elementary school education of Studs in 1916 and follows him through WWI, the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression. James Farrell does an amazing job of capturing the mood and culture of the time. The novel provides detailed insight into the Irish-Catholic neighborhoods in Chicago and the effects of the changing American demographics of the time.

In simple terms,
Jan 11, 2011 Veronica rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: My brother and son
Recommended to Veronica by: Modern Library's 100 Best Novels
Another triple header has put me a tad behind schedule, but I just gotta say that this one was out, and I mean way out, of the park. I must humbly acknowledge that I had never heard of James T. Farrell and what continually burst from my lips while reading this magnificent saga was “genius”. Farrell’s work is quite extensive and I will certainly be meeting up with him again after I complete this 100 book journey.

The Studs Lonigan trilogy is comprised of Young Lonigan (1932), The Young Manhood of
At 961 pages, this three-part trilogy actually had me wanting more. If I had to compare it to anything, it is like Trainspotting set in '20s/30s Chicago. (substitute heroin for bathtub gin; and substitute Begbie for Weary Reilly). The novel follows the title character, a first generation Irish Catholic wannabe tough buy, from 7th grade through the opening years of the Great Depression. Unlike his parents who were born in Ireland, Studs' upbringing was middle class and many of his acquaintances c ...more
Hmm . . . I'm not really sure what to make of this book. After completing it I find that it was a bit of a fatalistic diatribe. The railing against Negroes (called various racist epithets throughout the book), Jews (the same), women in general (mysogny), lesbians and homosexuals was blood-curdling to read. It would be my hope that Farrell was laying bare the rampant racism and sexism of his day with a higher social purpose but I can't be at all certain of that. With the life story of the main ch ...more
Bob Behlen
I don't know what to say: this book uses the words "kike" and "nigger" on practically every page, and the "hero" regularly blames all "kikes" and "niggers" for all of his problems. You keep expecting some reversal of his ignorant, red-neck, narrow-minded point of view, but it never comes.

Although the novel is 'rescued,' to some degree, in the last 500 pages (it is epic), I am still wondering why in the hell it was ever published by The Modern Library. I thought I could COUNT on them to distill t
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 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 ...more
I tried this book after a passing reference somewhere that it was high on a best novels of the 20th century. Not high on my list--I abandoned after a hundred pages or so. Hard to keep the characters straight, Studs' charracter redeveloped a dozen times, and the plot going nowhere. Bye bye.
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James Thomas Farrell was an American novelist. One of his most famous works was the Studs Lonigan trilogy, which was made into a film in 1960 and into a television miniseries in 1979. The trilogy was voted number 29 on the Modern Library's list of the 100 best novels of the 20th century.
More about James T. Farrell...

Other Books in the Series

Studs Lonigan (3 books)
  • Young Lonigan
  • The young manhood of Studs Lonigan
  • Judgment day
Young Lonigan The young manhood of Studs Lonigan Judgment day Chicago Stories A World I Never Made

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