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He died of respiratory failure on March 3, 1994.

Years earlier, he had considered using a line from Ortega y Gassett as an epigraph for Stoner: "A hero is one who wants to be himself." He understood too well that people set out to change the world and were instead changed by it — and sometimes crushed by it. Yet those who, like Stoner, pursued their work as a holy calling had the best chance, not of surviving — who does? — but of becoming themselves.

John Williams published three novels in twelve years. Each one struggled to find an audience at first, and has since been hailed as a classic.
special Collections, university of Arkansas Libraries
John Williams published three novels in twelve years. Each one struggled to find an audience at first, and has since been hailed as a classic.
Nancy Williams remembers her husband as a "plain guy" who loved to laugh and hated to revise.
Alan prendergast
Nancy Williams remembers her husband as a "plain guy" who loved to laugh and hated to revise.

For John Williams, that was all that mattered.

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1 comments
bernardhighland
bernardhighland

This was a great piece, Alan - I really enjoyed it.  I just finished Stoner and was amazed by it, I ordered Butchers Crossing and Augustus before I was even halfway through finishing Stoner.  I couldn't find that much about Williams online, but this article was just what I was looking for; a well written, thorough and honest appraisal of a much neglected author.



 
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