Nelson Algren

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Algren, Nelson

(ôl`grən), 1909–81, American novelist, b. Detroit. He grew up in Chicago, and much of his fiction is set in the city's slums. His novels, such as Never Come Morning (1942), The Man with the Golden Arm (1949, National Book Award), and A Walk on the Wild Side (1956), are brutally realistic. Around 1960 he stopped writing novels, his career having been sabotaged by the secret efforts of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI to silence him. Later he mainly wrote journalistic pieces, reviews, and, in a lighter vein, the personal sketches collected in Who Lost an American (1963), Notes from a Sea Diary (1965), and The Last Carousel (1973).


See biography by C. Asher (2019).

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Algren, Nelson (b. Nelson Ahlgren Abraham)

(1909–81) writer; born in Detroit, Mich. He trained as a journalist after a childhood in the Chicago slums. After working at a variety of jobs during the Depression, he settled in Chicago and became a leading exponent of the Chicago school of realism; his five streetwise novels include The Man With the Golden Arm (1949, National Book Award) and A Walk on the Wild Side (1956). After 1956 he wrote mostly stories and essays, producing only one novel (1981). In later years he became known for having had an affair with the French intellectual/writer, Simone de Beauvoir.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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The New Yorker's Joan Acocella surmises that "the crucial research took place in Nelson Algren's bed."
(4.) Nelson Algren quoted in Jerre Mangione, The Dream and the Deal, 121.
Chicago mayor Richard Daley said he "was part of a great Chicago literary tradition that stretched from Theodore Dreiser to Richard Wright to Nelson Algren to Mike Royko.
The guidebooks became a centerpiece of the Federal Writers' Project program and launched a number of literary careers, including those of novelists Nelson Algren, Saul Bellow and John Cheever, and poet May Swenson.
We also confront Party figureheads' mechanical treatment of writers--Chicago was home in this period to aspiring literary talents such as Richard Wright and Nelson Algren, both of whom traveled in circles highly sympathetic to if not aligned with the CP--seeking to turn their art to revolutionary purpose.
While not a superstar of American letters, a la Hemingway, Faulkner, or Fitzgerald, Farrell is nevertheless second-team all-canonical along with fellow realists of his generation such as Jack Conroy and Nelson Algren. Readers of baseball literature likely know Farrell as the author of My Baseball Diary, a collection of essays, short stories, and brief sections of his novels that collect his observations and opinions as a lifelong devotee of the game.
Ces impressions ont ete fortement influencees par la relation de Beauvoir avec Nelson Algren, ecrivain rencontre a Chicago et dont elle est tombee amoureuse.
In the 2001 documentary Classic Albums: Lou Reed: Transformer, Reed says that it was Nelson Algren's 1956 novel, A Walk on the Wild Side (set in New Orleans about a naive young man falling in with older women), that was the launching off point for the song.
She knew them all and bedded most of them as well as some that simply passed through, like Nelson Algren, Saul Bellow, and Evan Connell Jr.