Broadway Boogie Woogie: Damon Runyon and the Making of New by D. Schwarz

By D. Schwarz

Damon Runyon's reputation and value in shaping Amer-ican pop culture through the first half the 20th century can rarely be exaggerated. In full of life and exuberant chapters that come with a breathtaking view of recent York urban among the area Wars-with an emphasis at the city's colourful nightlife-Schwarz examines nearly each aspect of Runyon's profession, from sports-writer, day-by-day columnist, trial re-porter, and Hollywood determine to the writer of the nonetheless generally learn brief tales that have been the resource of the Broad-way hit men and Dolls. whereas examining Runyon's high-spirited paintings when it comes to ancient contexts, pop culture, and of the altering functionality of the media, Schwarz argues that during his columns and tales Runyon was once an quintessential determine in developing our public pictures of latest York urban tradition, inclu-ding our curiosity within the demimonde and underworld that explains partly the luck of The Godfather motion pictures and the Sopranos. As a part of his dialogue of Runyon's paintings and artistry of Runyon's fiction, he skillfully examines the particular language of the Broadway tales often called 'Runyonese' and explains how 'Runyonese' has turn into an adjective describing flamboyant habit.

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Extra info for Broadway Boogie Woogie: Damon Runyon and the Making of New York City Culture

Sample text

Manhattan is both island and seaport, and its geographical narrowness toward the port area did not allow much room for expansion. With Central Park, carefully planned by Frederick Law Olmsted, and its grid of streets, New York had a seeming underpinning of order. ”1 We shall see how beneath Runyon’s idiosyncratic yet highly structured plots—a kind of metaphor for the grid of streets—exists a subversive demimonde where economic relationships are discrete, highly personal, and morally rigged. New York took off in the 1890s and continued its growth as the brightest star of America’s firmament through World War II.

Runyon’s fictional world entered the imagination of those who read his work and was certainly part of the magnet of glamour and possibility that drew young people to New York, especially Manhattan. Published in popular magazines, his stories came to occupy the inner space of denizens of the heartland, the small towns, the rural South, and later the English speaking world beyond the shores of the RUNYON’S NEW YORK | 43 United States. His audience shared Runyon’s New York life, and, later, his Florida home and his Hollywood visits.

The first time he covered a major league team in spring training for the American in 1911, he coined the name “Bugs” for a pitcher named Raymond because the pitcher liked insects. Runyon abandoned straightforward inning by inning descriptions for a loosely organized idiosyncratic melange of feature writing, social commentary, and verbal pyrotechnics—which is what he also did in his court reporting of sensational trials, trials he regarded as sporting events with a different and perhaps less fair sense of rules.

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