This blog now has a companion volume, Sweet Home Chicago: Language & Culture (CBP, 2015). The book has been especially designed for foreign language learners of English. That said, if you already read English being a native speaker of the language, you may find it to be a friendly, basic introduction to some interesting aspects (and trivia) about the city of Chicago. If you understand French, you'll find an additional 20-page bonus of French texts about Chicago in the 8th chapter of the book, intended for translation exercises.
Chicago, the beautiful sky-scraper city located along the gracious shores
of Lake Michigan, elected its first mayor in 1837. It is less than 200 years
old. How did it get so far so fast? The "City of the Big Shoulders" will be
our guide as we pursue English Language Learning at intermediate and
advanced levels. Chicago has brought the world advertising, the Ferris
wheel, chewing gum, the skyscraper, literary modernism, the Poetry
Foundation, President Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton. It is an essential
American city that no student of American history or literature should ignore.
All English language learners will benefit from the various subjects, vocab-
ularies, grammar exercises, and translations presented in this book.
This post honors Tracy Lett and the Pulitzer prize winning play August: Osage County (2007) that premiered at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre. The film version directed by John Wells, was shown in Toronto in September 2013, and released in cinemas in Janurary 2014. The film stars Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, yet seems to be having mixed reactions. Undoubtedly you'll want to see it yourself to find out if the critics are right (or wrong).
Dave Denby, "August: Osange Country," "The Invisible Woman," and "Lone Survivor," New Yorker (January 6, 2014).
Michael Schulman, "A Play Falters on the Big Screen," New Yorker (January 6, 2014).
Katie van Syckle, "Q & A: Writer Tracy Letts on Adapting 'August Osage Country' to Film," Rolling Stone (September 11, 2013).
If you live in Hyde Park, be on the look out for local history! Joseph Di Cola and David Sone's recent book, Chicago's 1893 World's Fair (2012) will be discussed by the authors tonight, at 6 p.m., at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore, 5751 S. Woodlawn.
Of course, no one gets out of a course on 20th Century American Poetry without reading Carl Sandburg's "Chicago," the poem first published in Poetry Magazine by Harriet Monroe in 1914. Fewer know about Langston Hughes's 1964 poem "Chicago"... but there are other worthwhile poems about the city. Jerome Rothenberg has understood the American poets' right to write about the "oldest / modern American city" as he puts it. Even his title "The Chicago Poem" suggest that writing about the windy city (oops, no puns intended) may be a useful right of passage. See the full poem via the American Academy of Poets website: www.poets.org.
A little corner to encourage you to read and listen to poetry from Chicago.
Hear Gwendolyn Brooks read "the mother" from A Street in Bronzeville (1945) and other poetry (Poetry Foundation's Essential American Poets selected by Donald Hall, in a recording made at the Library of Congress, January 19, 1961).
2003. Skybridge, 1 N. Halstead Street, 39 stories.
1980. Xerox Center, 55 W. Monroe Street, 41 stories.
1975. Metropolitan Correctional Center, 71 W. Van Buren Street, 27 stories.
1973. Sears Tower, 223 S. Wacker Drive, 110 stories with a skydeck.
1972. Aon Center (Standard Oil Building), 200 E. Randolph Street. CNA Plaza, 44 stories, 325 S. Wabash Avenue.
Peace Parade and Workers' Picnic by Maurice Bailen.
1934. Halsted Street by Conrad (Nelson) Friberg.
The Great Depression by Maurice Bailen.
Chicago in all things Literary: Fiction, Poetry, Drama, Essays and Criticism
AL ASWANY,Alaa, Chicago, tr. Abdel Wahab, New York: Harper, 2008. ALGREN, Nelson, Chicago: City on the Make , Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001. BELLOW, Saul, The Adventures of Augie March, 1953.
—, Herzog, 1964.
—, Ravelstein, 2000. BROOKS, Gwendolyn, Selected Poems , New York: HarperCollins, 2006. CISNEROS, Sandra, The House on Mango Street , New York: Vintage Contemporaries, 1991. DREISER, Theodore, Sister Carrie  , .
DYBEK, Stuart, The Coast of Chicago , New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Picador, 2003.
—, Childhood and Other Neighborhoods, Stories, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2003.
—, Streets in Their Own Ink (Poems), New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004.
FULLER, Henry B., The Cliff Dwellers: A Novel, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1893.
GUZMAN, Richard R. (ed.), Black Writing From Chicago: In the World, Not of It?, Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2006.
HUGHES, Langston, "Chicago," in Arnold Rampersad (ed.), The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, New York: Vintage, 1994, p.616-617.
KIPLING, Rudyard, "Chicago," chapter 5, American Notes (1891).
LIEBLING, A.J., Chicago, The Second City , Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 2004.
MAMET, David, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, 1974.
—, "the Museum of Science and Industry Story," 5 Television Plays, 1975.
McQUADE, Molly (ed.), An Unsentimental Education: Writers and Chicago, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994.
NESS, Eliot, The Untouchables, 1947.
PARETSKY, Sara, Fire Sale, 2005.
—, Writing in an Age of Silence, London: Verso, 2007.
PYNCHON, Thomas, Against the Day (2006).
SANDBURG, Carl, Chicago Poems, 1916.
—, The Chicago Race Riots, July 1919, 1919.
SHERWIN, Byron L., The Cubs and the Kabbalist, Denton, Texas: West Oak Press, 2006.
SINCLAIR, Upton, The Jungle , New York: American Library/Signet Classic, 2001; New York: Random House/Modern Libary, 2002.
WRIGHT, Richard, Native Son , New York: Vintage, 2000.
Chicago's Reality (outside of Literature)
ADDAMS, Jane, My Friend, Julia Lathrop, New York: Macmillan Co., 1935.
ADLER, Jeffrey S., "'Halting the Slaughter of the Innocents,': the Civilizing Process and the Surge in violence in Turn-of-the-Century Chicago," in Social Science History 25.1 (2001) p.29-52.
BACHIN, Robin F., Building the South Side: Urban Space and Civic Culture in Chicago, 1890-1919, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.
BULMER, Martin, The Chicago School of Sociology: Institutionalization, Diversity, and the Rise of Social Research, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984.
CARSON, Mina, Settlement Folk: Social Thought and the American Settlement Movement, 1885-1930, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.
CONDIT, Carl W., The Chicago School of Architecture: A History of Commercial and Public Building in the Chicago Area, 1985-1925 [19 ??], Chicago: U Chicago Press, 1973.
CRONON, William, Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West, 1991.
DEEGAN, Mary Jo, "W.E.B. Du Bois and the Women of Hull-House, 1895-1899," American Sociologist 19.4 (Winter 1988), p.301-310.
DIAMOND, Andrew, "From Fighting Gangs to Black Nations: Race, Power, and the Other Civil Rights Movement in chicago's West Side Ghetto, 1957-1968" Revue Française d'Etudes Américaines 116 (Spring 2008) p.51-65. DRAKE, St. Clair and CAYTON, Horace R., Black Metropolis, A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City, , Revised and Enlarged, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993.
DURKIN KEATING, Ann, Chicago Neighborhoods and Suburbs: A Historical Guide, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.
DZUBACK, Mary Ann, Robert M. Hutchins: Portrait of an Educator, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.
EBNER, Michael H., Creating Chicago's North Shore: a Suburban History, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989.
GENET, Jean, "The Members of the Assembly," Esquire (November 1968) p.
GREEN, James, Death in the Haymarket. A Story of Chicago, the First Labor Movement and the Bombing that Divided Gilded Age America, New York: Pantheon Books, 2006. Read first chapter here.
HARRIS, Neil, The Chicagoan: A Lost Magazine of the Jazz Age, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.
HOLLAND, Robert A. Chicago In Maps: 1612-2002, Rizzoli, 2005.
HYRA, Derek S., The New Urban Renewal: The Economic Transformation of Harlem and Bronzeville, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.
KUSCH, Frank, Battleground Chicago: The Police and the 1968 Democratic National Convention, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.
MARCEL, Jean-Christophe, "Maurice Halbwachs à Chicago ou les ambiguités d'un rationalisme Durkheimien," Revue d'Histoire des Sciences Humaines, 1:1 (1999) p.47-68. MATHE, Sylvie (ed.), Regards Croisés sur Chicago, Aix en Provence: Publications de l'Université de Provence, 2004. MEIS KNUPFUR, Anne, The Chicago Black Renaissance and Women's Activism, Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2006.
MULLEN, Bill V., review of A.M. Knupfer's The Chicago Black Renaissance and Women's Activism in Women And Social Movements in the United States 10.4 (December 2006).
OBAMA, Barack, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, , Revised Edition, New York: Three Rivers Press, 2004.
PACYGA, Dominic A. Polish Immigrants and Industrial Chicago: Workers on the South Side, 1880-1922, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991, 2003.
ROYKO, Mike, Boss: Richard J. Daley of Chicago, 1971.
ROWE, Mike, Chicago Blues: The City and the Music , London: Perseus, 1975.
SAWISLAK, Karen, Smoldering City: Chicagoans and the Great Fire, 1871-1874, Chicago: U Chicago Press, 1995.
SCHULTZ, Rima Lunin and HAST, Adele (eds), Women Building Chicago 1790-1990: A Biographical Dictionary, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001.
SKLAR, Kathryn Kish, "Hull House in the 1890s: A Community of Women Reformers," Signs 10 (Summer 1985) p.658-77.
SMITH, Carl, Urban Disorder and the Shape of Belief: The Great Chicago Fire, the Haymarket Bomb, and the Model Town of Pullman, Chicago: U Chicago Press, 1994.
—, The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City, Chicago: U Chicago Press, 2006.
SOLZMAN, David M., The Chicago River: An Illustrated History and Guide to the River and Its Waterways [19 ??], Chicago: U. Chicago Press, 2006.
TERKEL, Studs, Division Street: America, 1967.
—, Chicago, 1987.
YELLEN, Samuel, American Labor Struggles [Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1936], 1969, 1974.
Chicago: Reference Works
GROSSMAN, James R., DURKIN KEATING, Ann, and REIFF, Janice L. (eds), The Encyclopedia of Chicago, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.
CANNING BLACKWELL, Elizabeth, Frommer's Chicago 2007, New York: Wiley Publishing, 2007.
HOLDEN, Greg, Literary Chicago: A Book Lover's Tour of the Windy City, Chicago: Lake Claremont Press, 2001.