Nelson Algren (1909-1981) was an American author. His works include: The Man with the Golden Arm (1949) and A Walk on the Wild Side (1956). His works mostly concern the Great Depression, which he endured in his twenties.
Life and Works
Nelson Algren was born March 28, 1909, as Nelson Algren Abraham, to a mechanically inclined Hoosier father, and moved into a Protestant neighborhood in Chicago. After growing up in poor Chicago, attending the University of Illinois at Urbana, and trying to become a journalist, he drifted south and joined thieves and prostitutes and spent jail time in Texas. Unable to find work in the Great Depression, he took to writing, and published his first novel, Someone in Boots, in 1935, set in the place he spent his life. His scandalous works in these foul settings did not receive much attention, and while some blame his being unwilling to promote himself, others blame his insistence that all good literature must be shocking. He paused writing to serve as a private in the Second World War. After the war, he published The Man with the Golden Arm, about a poker dealer losing his skill to drug addiction, and A Walk on the Wild Side, in the Depression in New Orleans. He continued to document Chicago from his flat and romance feminist Simone de Beauvoir in his later years.
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