James T. Farrell (1904-1979) is usually hailed as the author of Studs Lonigan, a book he survived by 45 years and roughly as many books. Yet if there is anything James Farrell was not, it was a one-book author. Studs Lonigan is probably Farrell’s best work; it is not his only major one. But Farrell’s impatience at being typecast simply as the author of Studs was more than an artist’s disappointment and anger at being valued so slightly. Whether Studs was his greatest novel or not, he was sure he could not be adequately approached by the evaluation of his individual works. For his had been a planned and protracted effort.
In 1940, when a young man asked Farrell how he should go ...
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