Farrell, James T.

Farrell, James T. (Thomas)

(1904–79) writer; born in Chicago. He grew up in the Irish-Catholic milieu of Chicago, attended the University of Chicago, held a variety of jobs, visited Paris, and then settled in New York City (1931) where he became involved with left-wing politics. At the same time, he began writing naturalistic urban fiction, of which the Studs Lonigan Trilogy (1932–35) remains his best-known work; for almost two decades, by which time far more explicit works left it looking tame, it was considered almost raunchy. It was also seen as a radical indictment of American society. Farrell continued his critique in a steady stream of fiction—in all, 50 novels and 13 volumes of short stories—but he rejected Marxist communism by the 1950s and his reputation waned.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.