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"About the Book ""Born the child of a poor farmer in Missouri, William Stoner is urged by his parents to study new agriculture techniques at the state university. Digging instead into the texts of Milton and Shakespeare, Stoner falls under the spell of the unexpected pleasures of English literature, and decides to make it his life. Stoner is the story of that life""--Publisher description. Book Synopsis Discover an American masterpiece. This unassuming story about the life of a quiet English professor has earned the admiration of readers all over the globe. The critic Morris Dickstein has said that John Williams's Stoner is something much rarer than a great novel - it is a perfect novel, and in the last decade this austere and deeply moving tale of a Midwestern college professor has been embraced by readers all over the world. To commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Stoner, NYRB Classics offers a special hardback edition of the book that also includes a previously unpublished correspondence between John Williams and his agent about its writing and publication. Review Quotes ""A beautiful, sad, utterly convincing account of an entire life...I'm amazed a novel this good escaped general attention for so long."" --Ian McEwan ""One of the great unheralded 20th-century American novels ...Almost perfect."" --Bret Easton Ellis ""Stoner is a novel of an ordinary life, an examination of a quiet tragedy, the work of a great but little-known writer."" --Ruth Rendell ""A beautiful and moving novel, as sweeping, intimate, and mysterious as life itself."" --Geoff Dyer ""I have read few novels as deep and as clear as Stoner. It deserves to be called a quiet classic of American literature."" --Chad Harbach ""The most beautiful book in the world."" --Emma Straub A poignant campus novel from the mid-'60s--an unjustly neglected gem. --Nick Hornby, People ""The book begins boldly with a mention of Stoner's death, and a nod to his profound averageness: 'Few students remembered him with any sharpness after they had taken his courses.' By the end, though, Williams has made Stoner's disappointing life into such a deep and honest portrait, so unsoftened and unromanticized, that it's quietly breathtaking.""--The Boston Globe ""Williams' descriptions of the experience of reading both elucidate and evince the pleasures of literary language; the 'minute, strange, and unexpected combinations of letters and words' in which Stoner finds joy are re-enacted in Williams' own perfect fusion of words.""--n+1 ""Stoner, by John Williams, is a slim novel, and not a particularly joyous one. But it is so quietly beautiful and moving, so precisely constructed, that you want to read it in one sitting and enjoy being in it, altered somehow, as if you have been allowed to wear an exquisitely tailored garment that you don't want to take off.""--The Globe and Mail ""One of the great forgotten novels of the past century. I have bought at least 50 copies of it in the past few years, using it as a gift for friends...The book is so beautifully paced and cadenced that it deserves the status of classic.""--Colum McCann, Top 10 Novels, The Guardian ""Stoner is undeniably a great book, but I can also understand why it isn't a sentimental favorite in its native land. You could almost describe it as an anti-Gatsby...Part of Stoner's greatness is that it sees life whole and as it is, without delusion yet without despair...The novel embodies the very virtues it exalts, the same virtues that probably relegate it, like its titular hero, to its perpetual place in the shade. But the book, like professor William Stoner, isn't out to win popularity contests. It endures, illumined from within.""--Tim Kreider, The New Yorker ""It's simply a novel about a guy who goes to college and bes a teacher. But it's one of the most fascinating things that you've ever come across.""--Tom Hanks, Time ""Stoner is written in the most plainspoken of styles...Its hero is an obscure academic who endures a series of personal and professional agonies. Yet the novel is utterly riveting, and for one simple reason: because the author, John Williams, treats his characters with such tender and ruthless honesty that we cannot help but love them.""--Steve Almond, Tin House ""The best book I read in 2007 was Stoner by John Williams. It's perhaps the best book I've read in years.""--Stephen Elliott, The Believer ""John Williams's Stoner is something rarer than a great novel--it is a perfect novel, so well told and beautifully written, so deeply moving, that it takes your breath away.""--The New York Times Book Review ""Williams didn't write much compared with some novelists, but everything he did was exceedingly fine...it's a shame that he's not more often read today...But it's great that at least two of his novels [Stoner, Butcher's Crossing] have found their way back into print.""--The Denver Post ""A masterly portrait of a truly virtuous and dedicated man.""--The New Yorker ""Why isn't this book famous...Very few "
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