For the first time, a collected edition of the major works of John Williams, author of "the perfect novel."
John Williams has never lacked admiring readers, and one of his novels, Augustus, shared the 1973 National Book Award. But the republication of his novels in trade paperback in the last decades has brought new attention and a much larger readership to a master of historical fiction deeply invested in character. Now, for the first time, in a deluxe hardcover edition, Library of America brings together his three major works. In Butcher's Crossing (1960), set in the 1870s, William Andrews abandons his studies at Harvard and heads out for the West, arriving in the small Kansas prairie town of Butcher's Crossing, where he soon finances a buffalo hunting expedition to the Colorado Rockies. At the center of the book is an episode of slaughter no reader will ever forget; the loss of the buffalo hides, in yet another in a series of misfortunes that befalls the expedition, proves to be of little consequence, since the demand for buffalo hides has collapsed while the men have been snowbound in the mountains. Stoner (1965), set in the Midwest of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, follows the life and undistinguished academic career of William Stoner, who, despite numerous disappointments, fashions an inner life that is a source of continuing solace and strength. The New York Times has called it "something rarer than a great novel--it is a perfect novel." In Augustus (1972), a mediation on power and love, Williams transports readers back to Ancient Rome and the rule of Augustus through letters and journals.
About the Author
John Williams (1922-1994) was a professor of English and Lawrence Phipps Professor of the Humanities at the University of Denver and founding editor of The Denver Quarterly. His novels include Butcher's Crossing (1960), Stoner (1965), and Augustus (1972), co-winner of the National Book Award.
Daniel Mendelsohn teaches literature at Bard College and is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books. His books include The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million, An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic, and, most recently, Three Rings: A Tale of Exile, Narrative, and Fate.