Nelson Algren

Nelson Algren (March 28, 1909 – May 9, 1981) was an American writer. He may be best known for The Man with the Golden Arm, a 1949 novel that won the National Book Award and was adapted as a 1955 film of the same name. According to Harold Augenbraum, "in the late 1940s and early 1950s he was one of the best known literary writers in America, lover of Simone de Beauvoir, "hero" of her novel The Mandarins, and so on. He's still a sort of bard of the down-and-outer because of this book and the novel A Walk on the Wild Side (made even more famous by the Lou Reed song)." Algren was born Nelson Ahlgren Abraham in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Goldie (née Kalisher) and Gerson Abraham. At the age of three he moved with his parents to Chicago, Illinois where they lived in a working-class, immigrant neighborhood on the South Side. His father was the son of a Swedish convert to Judaism, and his mother (who owned a candy store) was of German Jewish descent. As a young child, Algren's family lived at 7139 S. South Park Avenue (now S. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive) in the Greater Grand Crossing section of the South Side.

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