James Jones (author)

James Jones (author)

Infobox Writer
name = James Jones James Ramon Jones

imagesize =
caption =
birthdate = birth date|1921|11|06
birthplace = Robinson, Illinois
deathdate = death date and age|1977|05|09|1921|11|06
deathplace = Southampton, New York
occupation = Novelist, author
nationality = American
period = 1950-1977
genre = World War II fiction
movement =
influences =
influenced =

James Ramon Jones (November 6, 1921 – May 9, 1977) was an American author known for his explorations of World War II and its aftermath.


Jones was born and raised in Robinson, Illinois, the son of Ramon and Ada M. (nee Blessing) Jones. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1939 and served in the 25th Infantry Division before and during World War II, first in Hawaii at Schofield Barracks on Oahu, then in combat on Guadalcanal, where he was wounded in action.

His wartime experiences inspired some of his most famous works. He witnessed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which led to his first published novel, "From Here to Eternity". "The Thin Red Line" reflected his combat experiences on Guadalcanal. His last novel, "Whistle", was based on his hospital stay in Memphis, Tennessee, recovering from his wounds.

His second published novel, "Some Came Running", had its roots in his first attempted novel, which he called "They Shall Inherit the Laughter", a thinly disguised autobiographical novel of his experiences in Robinson immediately after World War II. After several rejections for the work being too shrill and lacking perspective, Jones abandoned "They Shall Inherit the Laughter" and went to work writing "From Here to Eternity", which won the National Book Award in 1952 and has been named one of the 100 best novels of the 20th century by the Modern Library. Conversely "Some Came Running" - albeit made into a critically acclaimed film starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Shirley MacLaine that was nominated for several Oscars - was savaged by the critics, who were especially harsh upon Jones' frequently misspelled words and punctuation errors throughout numerous passages of the book. Actually the critics had not realized that such elements were a conscious style choice by Jones to expound the provinciality of the novel's characters and setting. Jones apparently played around with this style with several short stories written at about the same time as "Some Came Running" (later incorporated into the collection "The Ice-Cream Headache and Other Stories"), only to abandon it altogether for the blunt but more grammatically sound style most associate with Jones by the time he finished "The Thin Red Line" in 1962.

Jones assisted in the formation of the Handy Writers' Colony in Marshall, Illinois, funded largely on the financial success of "From Here To Eternity", and organized by his then-lover, Lowney Handy (Ms. Handy was still married at the time). Originally conceived as a Utopian commune where budding artists could focus exclusively on their writing projects, the colony dissolved after only a few years, largely in part because of Handy's own erratic behavior and Jones' focus on his own novels. The colony dissolved a few years after James Jones relocated to France following his marriage to Gloria Mosolino.

Jones would not live long enough to see the completion of his last novel, "Whistle", (Jones knew he was dying of congestive heart failure while writing it). However, Jones did leave behind copious notes for Willie Morris to complete the final section of "Whistle" upon his death.

The posthumous publication of "Whistle" in 1978 saw the completion of Jones' war trilogy (the first parts being "From Here to Eternity" and "The Thin Red Line"), of which he wrote: "It will say just about everything I have ever had to say, or will ever have to say, on the human condition of war and what it means to us, as against what we claim it means to us."

Jones is the father of two children, including author Kaylie Jones, best known for writing "A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries", a thinly veiled memoir of the Joneses living in Paris during the 1960s. Ms. Jones' novel was made into a film starring Kris Kristofferson, Barbara Hershey and Leelee Sobieski in 1998. The release of this film, which coincided with the release of a new film version of "The Thin Red Line", directed by Terrence Malick, sparked a revival of interest in James Jones' life and works.

Jones died in Southampton, New York of congestive heart failure and is buried in Poxabogue-Evergreen Cemetery, Bridgehampton, New York.


*"From Here to Eternity", (1951) (made into a film in 1953 and a TV-minseries in 1979, followed by a TV-series in 1980)
*"Some Came Running", (1957) (made into a film in 1958)
*"The Pistol", (1959)
*"The Thin Red Line", (1962) (made into a film in both 1964 and 1998)
*"Go to the Widow-Maker", (1967)
*"The Ice-Cream Headache and Other Stories", (1968)
*"The Merry Month of May", (1971)
*"A Touch of Danger", (1973)
*"WW II", (1975)
*"Whistle", (1978) (completed by Willie Morris)

External links

* [http://rking.vinu.edu/j.htm The James Jones Literary Society]
* [http://webtext.library.yale.edu/xml2html/beinecke.JONES.con.html James Jones Papers] . Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
* [http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/research/fa/jones.james.hp.html James Jones Papers] . Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin.
* [http://www.uis.edu/archives/handy.html Handy Writers' Colony Collection] . Archives/Special Collections, Brookens Library, University of Illinois at Springfield.
*WiredForBooks|jamesjones|1975 Audio Interview with James Jones - RealAudio by Don Swaim
*findagrave|7581199 Retrieved on 2008-07-27
* [http://www.theparisreview.org/viewinterview.php/prmMID/4779 Read Jones's interview with The Paris Review]

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