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Chicago Literature Index

Gwendolyn Brooks said, “I lived on 63rd Street—at 623 East 63rd Street—and there was a good deal of life in the raw all about me. You might feel that this would be disturbing, but it was not. It contributed to my writing process. I wrote about what I saw and heard in the street.”

Saul Bellow, likewise, used Chicago as the setting of some of his most celebrated books. He said, “Provincialism can be a blessing.”

The books written about or set in Chicago would fill an expansive library, and more launch all the time. Despite this abundance, Chicago as a literary landscape does not grow tired; on the contrary, the city grows in richness with myriad interpretations. This Chicago book index serves as a reference point to some of the titles published over the years. More will be added all the time, and we encourage suggestions. All the books listed include Chicago as a primary or at least secondary setting. These books give us glimpses into Chicago’s many neighborhoods, its people, its endless enterprise, its cruelty and kindness, as well as it many historical eras. These books show us Chicago life—then, now, and in some cases the future.

Barriers Burned Away, E.P. Roe, 1872

The Tribune Primer, Eugene Field, 1882

Culture’s Garland, Eugene Field, 1887

The Cliff-Dwellers, Henry Blake Fuller, 1893

Sweet Clover, Clara Burnham, 1894

Rose of Catcher’s Coolly, Hamlin Garland, 1895

With the Procession, Henry Blake Fuller, 1895

Pink Marsh: A Story of the Streets and Town, George Ade, 1897

Mr. Dooley in Peace and War, Finley Peter Dunne, 1899

Mr. Dooley in the Hearts of His Countrymen, Finley Peter Dunne, 1899

Luke Walton or The Chicago Newsboy, Horatio Alger, 1900

Mr. Dooley’s Philosophy, Finley Peter Dunne, 1900

“The Shallow Spirit of Judgement: Three Stories of Contemporary Chicago Life,” Edith Wyatt, McClure’s Magazine, 1900

Sister Carrie, Theodore Dreiser, 1900

The Web of Life, Robert Herrick, 1900

Mr. Dooley’s Opinions, Finley Peter Dunne, 1901

Observations by Mr. Dooley, Finley Peter Dunne, 1902

In Babel; Stories of Chicago, George Ade, 1903

The Pit, Frank Norris, 1903

A Prairie Winter, Belle Owen, 1903

True Love: Comedy of the Affectations, Edith Wyatt, 1903

The Common Lot, Robert Herrick, 1904

A Little Girl in Old Chicago, Amanda Douglas, 1904

An Eye For An Eye, Clarence Darrow, 1905

Memoirs of an American Citizen, Robert Herrick, 1905

Dissertations by Mr. Dooley, Finley Peter Dunne, 1906

The Jungle, Upton Sinclair, 1906

The Spirit of Youth and the City Streets, Jane Addams, 1907

The Bomb, Frank Harris, 1909

Twenty Years at Hull House, Jane Addams, 1909

Just Folks, Clara Laughlin, 1910

Mr. Dooley Says, Finley Peter Dunne, 1910

Jenny Gerhardt, Theodore Dreiser, 1911

Rebellion, Joseph Medill Patterson, 1911

Mr. Achilles, Jeannette Lee, 1912

The Mucker, Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1914

The Precipice, Elia W. Peattie, 1914

The Titan, Theodore Dreiser, 1914

You And I: Poems, Harriet Monroe, 1914

You Know Me, Al, Ring Lardner, 1914

The Song of the Lark, Willa Cather, 1915

Chicago Poems, Carl Sandburg, 1916

Return of the Mucker, Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1916

Windy McPherson’s Son, Sherwood Anderson, 1916

Fanny Herself, Edna Ferber, 1917

The Homesteader, Oscar Micheaux, 1917

Mr. Dooley on Making a Will and Other Necessary Evils, Finley Peter Dunne, 1919

Moon-Calf, Floyd Dell, 1920

Resurrection Rock, Edwin Balmer, 1920

Erik Dorn, Ben Hecht, 1921

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