Illustration by Dan Zettwoch

Who's Who and What's What



A key to the map above. Locations are of dubious accuracy.

1. The White Castle at Grand and Gravois avenues became the titular White Palace in the novel by Glenn Savan.

2. Tennessee Williams always claimed St. Louis made him want to drink. Despite his wishes to the contrary, he’s buried here.

3. Mark Twain. If he’d only had $6 million, St. Louis might be Twain Town.

4. The ever-cranky novelist Iris Murdoch called our Arch “useless.”

5. The Mississippi River: T.S. Eliot’s “brown god.”

6. William S. Burroughs, on visits home, was most nostalgic for the old Market Street skid row.

7. St. Louis summers have inspired many writers. Charles Dickens wrote, “I shall therefore, I have no doubt, be at issue with the inhabitants of St. Louis in questioning the perfect salubrity of its climate.”

8. Washington University has long been a destination for writers, including Williams, A.E. Hotchner and William Gass.

9. Short-story writer Harold Brodkey grew up in University City.

10. Kate Chopin suffered a fatal brain hemorrhage at the 1904 World’s Fair.

11. To Sally Benson, the 1904 World’s Fair was one of the wonders of the world, but Henry Adams preferred Europe’s cathedrals.

12. The Crystal Palace inspired the world’s only Beatnik musical, The Nervous Set.

13. Before Left Bank Books, visiting writers read at the Mercantile Library downtown. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Oscar Wilde all visited our city.

14. Dick Gregory had fond memories of the cops in his north-city neighborhood.

15. Thomas Whitman, Walt’s brother, designed the North Grand water tower.

16. Walt Whitman waxed poetic about the Eads Bridge.

17. Laurell K. Hamilton’s vampires hang out in the Blood District -- a.k.a. Laclede’s Landing.

18. W.E.B. DuBois visited East St. Louis after the 1917 race riots.

19. Theodore Dreiser found the city’s prostitution district “truly amazing.”


Click here to read Aimee Levitt's feature on Literary St. Louis.

Click here for the ongoing Literary St. Louis blog series.

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