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Guys and Dolls: 09/20/22

Guys and Dolls

Guys and Dolls by Damon Runyon is the name of a variety of collections of short stories written over the course of the author's career. The edition I read was a poorly done reprint from 1976 of a 1931 collection that isn't listed on Goodreads. Thus, this post won't so much be a review as a collection of thoughts before I read a newer, more comprehensive edition.

Nearly every Damon Runyon short story collection for the last many decades has been titled Guys and Dolls to draw a connection with the musical by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser. The initial idea came from one of Runyon's stories or maybe all of them. This detail I'm not entire sure of yet.

None of Runyon's stories are called "Guys and Dolls." According to Wikipedia, the musical was inspired by three stories: "The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown", "Blood Pressure", and "Pick the Winner."

In the library book I read, only one of those stories was included, namely "Blood Pressure." It seems silly to me to name a book after a musical and then only include a third of the source material.

    The collection included:
  1. The bloodhounds of Broadway
  2. Social error
  3. The lily of St. Pierre
  4. Butch minds the baby
  5. Lillian
  6. Romance in the roaring forties
  7. A very honorable guy
  8. Madame La Gimp
  9. Dark Dolores
  10. Gentlemen, the king!
  11. The hottest guy in the world
  12. The brain goes home
  13. Blood pressure

I now have a different, newer edition on hand. This one is four hundred pages (compared to the 200 pages of the library version). It's the Penguin Books edition from 2008. It contains the first two stories (as well a bunch of others, and some of his nonfiction writing) but doesn't contain "Pick a Winner." I will review the Penguin edition later after I've finished it.

Two stars

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