Nelson Algren: A Collection of Critical Essays
Edited by Robert Ward

About the Author:
Robert Ward lectures in American literature at St. Martinís College, Lancaster, UK. He earned his doctorate from the University of Leeds in 2001 and has research interests in American literature of the 1930s, writing from and about prisons, and memoir. He has given papers at local and international conferences, and written articles, in all of these areas.




Nelson Algren was one of the most important, though critically undervalued, American writers of his generation. But since his death in 1981, his major fictional writings and essays have increasingly attracted serious biographical and scholarly attention. This collection of eleven essays on Algren offers a diverse and lively range of theoretical and historical readings. These include discussions on Algrenís place in Chicagoís left-wing literary tradition, the aesthetic of American and European naturalism, and his reaction to, and reception in the Cold War milieu of the 1940s and 1950s. Consideration is also given to the ways in which paperback cover designs up to and during this Cold War period shaped the reception of Algrenís novels as pulp fiction. Algrenís words are further illuminated by theories of Walter Benjamin, and those associated with confinement, autobiography, post-colonialism, and the cultural politics of American carnival.

The volume is supplemented by a piece that traces the birth and growth of the Algren archive at Ohio State University Libraries. In all, this book represents an important marker in Algren scholarship, and will also be of value to readers concerned with developments in American and European studies more generally.

Algrenís books discussed in this collection include Somebody in Boots (1935), Never Come Morning (1942), The Neon Wilderness (1947), The Man with the Golden Arm (1949), Chicago: City on the Make (1951), A Walk on the Wild Side (1956), Who Lost an American? (1963), Notes from a Sea Diary: Hemingway All the Way (1963), The Last Carousel (1973), The Devilís Stocking (1983) [published posthumously], and Nonconformity: Writing on Writing (1996) [published posthumously].

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction
Robert Ward

Nelson Algren: An American Outsider
Bettina Drew

Nelson Algrenís Self-Portrait as Meaningful Structure
Frťdťric Dumas

A World of Ruins: Nelson Algren and Walter Benjaminís Destructive Character
Stephen Hardman

Spatial Enclosures in Nelson Algrenís Never Come Morning
Robert Ward

Detachment, Compassion, and Irritablity: The Naturalism of Never Come Morning
Kasia Boddy

Making Nakedness Visibile: Narrative Perspective in Nelson Algrenís The Man with the Golden Arm
James R. Giles

Textual Outlaws: The Colonized Underclass in Nelson Algrenís The Man with the Golden Arm
Ian Peddie

The City That Turned the White Sox Black: Post-World War II Chicago Boosterism and the Negation of Nelson Algren
Caroline Gottschalk-Druschke

Nelson Algren and Carnival in 1930s America
Philip McGowan

ďIt Was Dope!Ē: The Paperback Revolution and the Literary Reputation of Nelson Algren
Bill Savage

Hanging with Nelson Algren: A Brief Look at the Author and His Milieu
Warren Leming

The Nelson Algren Archive at the Ohio State University Libraries
Elva Griffith

Notes on Contributors

Index

ISBN 0-8386-4108-3, $42.50

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