I’ve never even read Nelson Algren, but let’s milk him once more. This is from the same Paris Review interview I linked to yesterday. Here he’s discussing James T. Farrell, the author of the Studs Lonigan trilogy trilogy:
Well, I don’t feel he’s a good writer. . . . I don’t think he’s a writer, really. . . . Farrell is stenographic, and he isn’t even a real good stenographer. He’s too sloppy. In his essays he compares himself with Dreiser, but I don’t think he’s in Dreiser’s league. He’s as bad a writer as Dreiser — but he doesn’t have the compassion that makes Dreiser’s bad writing important.