Posts tagged “neon wilderness”

  • The LA Times on the legacy of Nelson Algren

    The LA Times on the legacy of Nelson Algren

    April 28, 2009

    Art Shay... took the most iconic shots of the author, black-and-whites of him playing poker or peering through barroom windows, pictures so gritty you can almost feel the dirt rise off the frame. These photos, as much as anything, are responsible for Algren's image as "the poet of the Chicago slums," yet they also cast him in amber: a midcentury figure, smoking a cigar, eyebrows raised behind round glasses, turning over another card. Sixty years after winning the first National Book Award, for his 1949 novel of addiction, "The Man With the Golden Arm," Algren has become vestigial enough that discussions of a national celebration were scaled back after, as [executive director of the National Book Foundation Harold] Augenbraum notes in an e-mail, "we concluded that though his writing continued to resonate, the number of his readers and his currency among the general reading public had diminished." So what, exactly, is Algren's legacy? That's the question the Steppenwolf event means to raise. David Ulin at the LA Times

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