Writing Chicago uncovers the deep connections between the renowned Chicago school of sociology--exemplified by William Thomas, Robert Park, and Robert Redfield--and the great Chicago novelists of the 1930's, Nelson Algren, Richard Wright and James T. Farrell, all of whom integrated sociological theories into their own work.
In their studies of society, the Chicago sociologists often imitated creative writers and literary critics. Somewhat later, Chicago novelists discovered in sociology important tools that enabled them to write about migrants and immigrants, the city and the slum. Cappetti provides readings of Farrell's Studs Lonigan, Algren's Never Come Morning and Wright's Black Boy and American Hunger in light of their sociological influences.
While belonging to separate "disciplines" and expressing themselves through different forms of writing, Chicago writers and sociologists nevertheless lived in close intellectual proximity. The product of their overall creativity was an impressive number of studies and narratives about the city, immigration, and deviance that shaped the representation of urban America and the perception of American society between the world wars.
About the Author
Carla Cappetti is assistant professor of English at the City College of New York.