Nighthawks: Origins, Influences, and Implicit Urban Narratives | Newberry

Nighthawks: Origins, Influences, and Implicit Urban Narratives

Monday, February 14, 2022

9:30am - 12:30pm

The Newberry Library

Dr. Bill Savage, Northwestern University
Newberry Teachers' Consortium

Few paintings occupy as much space in the American imagination as Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks. In part inspired by fiction (Ernest Hemingway’s short story “The Killers”), it went on to inspire poets, songwriters, and fiction writers as diverse as Joyce Carol Oates, Tom Waits, and Stuart Dybek (not to mention its endless parodies and pastiches). In this seminar, we will examine the sources of Hopper’s vision of the city, along with writers the painting influenced. We will also read short fiction roughly contemporary to the painting by other writers (especially Nelson Algren) in order to delve into the implicit narrative of identity the painting depicts, in contexts not often considered: vice or criminal culture, and urban commercial architecture.

Cost and Registration Information 

Registration for all NTC seminars opens Friday, September 10, 2021 at 8 a.m. (Central Time). Registration instructions and pricing information can be found here. Once open, registration for this seminar will be available through this link. For more information about NTC purchases, please contact Cate Harriman, Teacher & Student Programs Coordinator, at

A link to the assigned pre-readings for the seminars, as well as instructions for accessing virtual seminars, will be distributed to participants via email.

If you believe you are registered for this seminar but have not received an email confirmation or reminder, please contact Teacher Programs staff at