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Open Book

Studs Lonigan (The Modern Library, 1963 edition)

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley tipped his literary hat to a University alumnus this winter, proclaiming December 18 James T. Farrell Day to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the deceased novelist’s birth. Depicting the city’s South Side Irish community, Farrell (1904–1979) produced fiction, criticism, and memoirs. He remains best known for the naturalistic Studs Lonigan trilogy, first published in the 1930s, in which the title character comes of age.

“They put their suits on under their clothes at Studs’. The suit fitted Kenny. They went over to South Park and bummed rides to Fifty-first, and did the same thing along Fifty-first and Hyde Park Boulevard. They had fun on Hyde Park Boulevard. It was a ritzy neighborhood where everybody had the kale and all the men wore knickers and played tennis and golf, and all the guys were sissies. Kenny had chalked his K. K. initials all over the Fifty-eighth Street neighborhood, so he started putting mysterious K. K. signs on the Boulevard. And he kept walking on the grass, making fun of the footmen and wriggling his ears at the well-dressed women. They saw one hot dame, in clothes that must have cost a million bucks, and Kenny commented on the large breastworks she had. He spoke too loud, and she heard him. She went up in the air like a kite, and talked very indignantly about ragamuffins from the slums. When they got out of her hearing, they laughed.”