21 October 1871
|Died||23 September 1935
Randwick, New South Wales, Australia
|Occupation||novelist and playwright|
Stone was born in Leicester, England, baptized as William Lewis, son of William Stone, a basketmaker, and his wife Emma, née Tewkes. In 1884 the family migrated to Brisbane, and then a year later, to Redfern in Sydney.
He grew up in poverty. His father was a marine who was largely absent.
Stone qualified as a primary school teacher in 1895 and had temporary teaching positions until he obtained a regular teaching job at Cootamundra. In 1901 Stone was transferred to South Wagga Wagga where he met Thomas Blamey who was influenced by Stone.
Around 1908 Stone married Abigail Allen and also began to write a novel Jonah, published in London in 1911. According to Geoffrey Dutton, Stone was intimately familiar with the setting for Jonah, spending time in Waterloo and Paddy's market, studying the local larrikins and their speech. The novel was warmly accepted by H.G. Wells, Galsworthy and George Bernard Shaw. Unfortunately it was not a financial success, until popularity was finally attained in the nineteen sixties and seventies.
In 1933, Jonah was republished by Percy Stephensen; it was also published in the United States as Larrikin. Jonah was adapted for a television series by the Australian Broadcasting Commission in 1982; it also provided the basis for the Sydney Theatre Company musical, Jonah Jones, in 1985.
Stone's second novel Betty Wayside was published in 1915.
An interesting character sketch of Louis Stone is given by Norman Lindsay in 'Bohemians of the Bulletin'. Lindsay describes how the plot of Stone's last novel, Betty Wayside, was bowdlerized and thus fell into obscurity, leaving Stone with a sense of failure and a mental breakdown.
- Jonah (1911)
- Betty Wayside (1913)
- The Lap of the Gods (1923)