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Runyon, Damon

(US, 1884–1946)

Runyon was born in Kansas but is indelibly linked with the demi-monde of gangsters and performers who worked on Broadway. Indeed, Runyon's ashes were scattered over Broadway from a plane piloted by the famous air ace, Eddie Rickenbacker. In both his syndicated journalism and his fiction, Runyon captured his era's fascination with celebrity and display. His stories Guys and Dolls (1932) and More Than Somewhat (1937) were instant best-sellers. The stories centre around the narrator's wary involvement with such luminaries as Harry the Horse, Dave the Dude, and Izzy the Cheesecake. Runyon created an idiosyncratic slang remarkable for its immediacy and its use of extravagant metaphor. His narratives are controlled by a precise and comic use of the historical present. The darker side of Runyon's world can be seen in ‘The Informal Execution of Soupbone Pew’ in Runyon First and Last (1949).

Anita Loos, P. G. Wodehouse  GK

Additional topics

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionBooks & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (Pa-Sc)