Young Manhood of Studs Lonigan

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Novel by James T. Farrell, published in 1934. The second part of his Studs Lonigan trilogy, it follows Young Lonigan and precedes Judgment Day.

Continuing his naturalistic study of the experiences of a Chicago youth, the author follows young Lonigan from the end of his schooling, during World War I, to a New Year's Eve celebration of a decade later. Studs tries to join the army but fails because of his youth; attempts a holdup; goes to work with his father as a house painter; helps his gang to torture a black child during race riots; plays football in a rough game that ends in a gang fight; frequently becomes drunk; learns to dance; joins the YMCA but gives it up because the “joint looks phony”; has various experiences with girls, including his early sweetheart Lucy, who rejects him after he contracts a venereal disease from a “pickup”; is impressed by the dedication ceremonies of a new church and is nearly persuaded by his mother to undertake a mission; but reverts to hard drinking and narrowly escapes incrimination in his friend Weary's rape of a pickup during a New Year's Eve party. Brief alternating chapters show the universality of the main narrative, by presenting the similar experiences of Stud's younger brother Martin and of a black boy; the love affair of Phil Rolfe, a Jew who accepts Catholicism because he wishes to marry Loretta Lonigan; the dreary lives of Studs's parents; the communistic ideas of the waiter Christy; Davey Cohen's degradation and beggary; and the views of Danny O'Neill, a university student and gas-station attendant, who seems to express the author's own commentary on these events.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

J. T. Farrell (1904—1979) American novelist

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