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John Williams (1) (1922–1994)

Autor(a) de Stoner

Para outros autores com o nome John Williams, ver a página de desambiguação.

John Williams (1) foi considerado como pseudónimo de John Edward Williams.

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About the Author

Image credit: The University of Denver

Obras por John Williams

Foram atribuídas obras ao autor também conhecido como John Edward Williams.


Conhecimento Comum



November 2012: Stoner em Missouri Readers (Novembro 2012)


Very, very extraordinary book. I approached it with some doubt and not so big expectations only to be truly impressed by it.

In time where everyone "needs" to be next Musk or Gates, when everyone "needs" to share their very intimate moments with everyone else, "need" to be at the most visited/fascinating/tremendous place in their lives, this book is like a trip to the old times, times that now seem like some sort of parallel universe that is unfathomable to anyone living [in our crazy times].

One of the reviewers said that this is a bleak book. In my opinion it is not a bleak book, it is a book about ordinary life. Stoner is a person coming from the hard-living environment, boy who saw himself laboring on the hard fields inherited from his family until his parents offer him a potentially new future - to attend the university and learn more about the agriculture. Of course, this does not end as expected. Stoner falls in love with literature studies, he decides to pursue this area, graduates and then continues with magisterial and doctoral studies, finally becoming the professor (his passion for the subject identified by his mentor who pushes Stoner towards becoming a teacher).

In all this time, Stoner is far from passive. While he is not afraid to die in war, he makes a rather unpopular decision to stay in the university and finish his studies instead of joining the army and going to WW1 France. He makes this decision because he sees his future and his life in the studies of literature, and he is blessed by friends who, although maybe not liking his decision, accept it as is. When he meets his wife Edith for the first time, he is smitten and here and there he makes a decision that this is a woman he will spend thevrest of his life with. When his wife gives birth to their daughter, he gives all his love and attention to the child and finds a new purpose in life. When he loses one of the very few friends he has, he concentrates on keeping the connection with the remaining ones. And all the time, his anchor in life is his work as a teacher, doing what he loves, constantly learning new things together with his students, always learning ever more from their [students'] work and passing that newly accumulated knowledge to new generations.

Of course dark clouds do come up - he loses contact with his parents, although they encourage him to pursue his interests [and this starts to grow the divide]; his in-laws suffer greatly during the Great Depression and this reflects on his wife, who was already very unstable [this shows even in the way she was unsure how to proceed with Stoner's courting to begin with - at the time she just decided to wrap everything up and to get married quickly - by looks of it this was only way she could handle this]; wife who was constantly trying to reinvent herself during the crisis, and who became ever more hostile to her husband (just as a vent for her own frustrations, not as an actual hate towards Stoner), even to the point of making sure father's relation with his daughter is interrupted; his daughter slowly but surely becomes ever more estranged from her father by actions of her mother; genial but very antagonistic fellow professor shows up who will become Stoner's long term enemy for reasons of .... who knows, the thing is that sometimes people just do not understand each other, and then this resentment just keeps on growing.

And through all of this, Stoner is navigating, trying to keep his family and work. He could very easily break up with his wife, but Stoner is one of those rare people that do not falter and dont give up easily, and that just keeps on pushing forward.
He is aware of Edith's problems but he does not resent her, he understands the cause of it - he gets into conflict with her, he is not shy about that, especially when it comes to their daughter and Edith's manipulations, and slowly makes her see some reason and forces her to at least give child some freedom. His broken marriage, without any contact, emotional or physical, definitely made Stoner's life difficult, but he does not waver. He still loves his wife and his daughter and finds ways to keep everyone happy and at peace even if this means physical separation with his wife - living in the parts of the house she designates for him as his work (and later residential) area. Stoner is patient, and he takes things as they are.

This isolation will bring him into a situation where he will inevitably falter and fall, at least morally. His affair with the fellow professor (previously doctoral student attending his classes) will bring him very close to breaking point, both professionally and privately, but will give him insight into what love truly is and what he could have had with Edith under different circumstances. Although he had to break up this relationship (which was done mutually, since young professor was aware there is no other way) it was done again not so much to help him, but to keep the position of the young professor, ensuring that she could keep her title and be able to continue working in education. Heartbreaking as it was, they were both aware that this was the only way forward. But they kept the love and passion they felt for each other, and this remained alive for years to come.

With age, he will become more hard when it comes to constant fiery exchanges with his nemesis Lomax, but he will keep his reason and try to discuss things with his now boss. In all times, Stoner will keep his professionalism and will work hard to prevent anything that he sees as detrimental to teaching from entering the university classroom, even if it means further conflict with his colleagues. And so things move on until the day Stoner could not continue any more, moment that awaits us all.

We come to this world alone, and we leave it alone. In between, we need to strive to do as best as we can, trying to do things we love and keep people we love around us. There will be trying periods, but such is life. True moments of bliss will remain - doing work one loves, working on relationships with people one loves and cares about, making sure ones children grow under normal circumstances and are prepared for whatever lies ahead (as much as possible, of course, since children will make choices of their own). These are elements that make a good life. Everything else is just there to make these moments come to the fore.

Was Stoner's life hard? Definitely. But it was not bad at all, as a matter of fact when compared to other people in that period (and not just that period), his life was pretty good. He lived surrounded by friends and loved ones, and he died, having said goodbye to them. He died knowing he helped lots of people find their calling and that he affected their lives in a positive way. And he died knowing there is nothing to regret about his life, he accepted his deadly sickness as it is, he came to peace with death, accepting that everything happened in the way it was supposed to.

Is the above bleak? In my opinion, no. It is just life. A life worth living.
… (mais)
Zare | 354 outras críticas | May 18, 2024 |
Unspektakulär wie Stoners Leben... Und doch hat mich dieses Buch gefesselt und an mehreren Stellen tief berührt!
Katzenkindliest | 354 outras críticas | Apr 23, 2024 |
Hated it. The passivity of the protagonist/title character is repellent. He just can't ever quite think what he might do to escape his unhappy marriage, mitigate the enmity of a colleague, keep the woman he loves, or help his drunkard daughter. His lover is a middle-aged academic male's fantasy. Young ... beautiful ... she loves ... she lusts ... she learns ... she makes no demands ... she leaves. Stoner's academic specialty is the Latin (classical) tradition in English literature, but he apparently learned nothing from either Latin or English literature. Passivity does not equal stoicism. Just ugh.… (mais)
1 vote
AJ12754 | 354 outras críticas | Apr 15, 2024 |
Masterful depiction of a young man in agony. He has tried to live his life apart from his past, which contains memories too painful to bear examining. This faulty resolution fails when his father appears (after a long separation) and requests a meeting. The young man slowly unravels and reader learn, bit by bit, of the terrible tragedy of his childhood as we watch him fall apart. Terrific pacing and outstanding character study.
brianstagner | 4 outras críticas | Apr 14, 2024 |



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