Celebrating 60 years of Nelson Algren's 'Chicago: City on the Make'

October 17, 2011

Produced by Eight Forty-Eight

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(AP/Edward S. Kitch)
Nelson Algren at work in 1950.

In 1951, Nelson Algren embarked on a very pointed portrait of Chicago. Chicago: City on the Make is a prose poem that unearths all the dynamics – good and bad – that built Chicago. Algren had already written The Man with the Golden Arm, which won him a National Book Award; but City on the Make managed to raise a lot of eyebrows. Bill Savage is co-editor of the 60th anniversary edition of City on the Make, which just hit bookshelves. He and co-editor David Schmittgens included detailed annotations in the edition. Eight Forty-Eight spoke with Savage about one of his primary tasks – translating Algren’s language for contemporary audiences.