March 18, 2008

Joseph Nechasek ’62 Donates Robert Stone Book Collection to Skillman Library

Gift includes first editions of all of Stone’s works

A collection of the works of novelist Robert Stone has been donated to Skillman Library by Joseph E. Nechasek ’62. Nechasek, a collector of recent American literature, presented the works in January.

Stone, whose Dog Stories (1974) has been called the quintessential Vietnam novel, is the author of seven novels, a volume of short stories, and an acclaimed recent memoir, Prime Green: Remembering the Sixties (2007). Some critics find Stone’s work a “glorification of despair” with its emphasis on the depravities of contemporary society—drugs, alcohol, violence, and moral and political corruption—while others see the possibility for hope and redemption.

The Nechasek gift includes first editions of all of Stone’s works in dust jackets, with all but one signed by the author. In addition, for Outerbridge Reach (1992), there is the first British edition, a review copy, and a limited edition, as well as uncorrected proofs of Stone’s volume of short stories, Bear and his Daughter (1997). Other works include published interviews with Stone and books with introductions by Stone, including a 1990 edition of Stephen Crane’s Red Badge of Courage. The collection is being cataloged and will be available shortly in Special Collections.

Stone’s thoughts on his career were quoted in a Jan. 7, 2007 interview in the Boston Globe:

“Without writing I would have dried up and blown away. That was my discipline, what I lived for, finally. I never had a lot of ego. It got crushed when I was small. Writing was the one thing I had that was beautiful, the only thing that justified me, the only way in which I could provide something beyond my own gratification. Without it, I was just a guy who drank too much, took too many drugs, and talked too much. Without it, I could say to this day, I am virtually nothing.”

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