Reading Chicago Classics: The Man with the Golden Arm | Newberry

Reading Chicago Classics: The Man with the Golden Arm

Led by Bill Savage
Wednesday, June 29, 2022
Five sessions. Wednesdays, June 29-July 27.



Register Now

To register multiple people for this class, please go through the course calendar in Learning Stream, our registration platform. When you select the course and register, you’ll be prompted to add another registrant.

Seminar Description

Nelson Algren’s masterpiece, The Man with the Golden Arm, won the first National Book Award in 1949. In vivid vernacular American English, Algren depicted the world of Damen and Division as Chicagoans experienced “the new way we got of doin’ things” after World War II.

In this seminar we will explore the world of Frankie Machine, his pal Sparrow, his wife Sophie, his lover Molly, and his bartender, Antek the Owner. The bars, police stations, and defunct factories are the setting of Chicago’s transformation from a patchwork of urban ethnic villages to a post-industrial city. We’ll delve slowly and deeply into Algren’s novel, contextualized with his own literary criticism and with the work of scholars since.

Bill Savage has been teaching seminars on Chicago literature, history, and culture at the Newberry Library since 1992.

Materials List


First Reading:

  • No first reading assignment.

Cost and Registration Information 

Five sessions. Registration: $185 ($165 for Newberry members, seniors, and students)

Please note: You’ll register for this class on a platform called Learning Stream. Questions? Contact us at

Register for this class now.