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notes and sources

  • Call It Sleep, Henry Roth's 1934 tour de force, presents the interior psychological world of a young immigrant boy who arrives with his mother to live in Brooklyn around the turn of the century. Life on the streets there is full of new languages, new masses, and new challenges for David.

  • Charley Anderson is a recurring character in Dos Passos's U.S.A. Trilogy: The 42nd Parallel (1930), 1919 (1932), and The Big Money (1936). In the first volume, Charley leaves North Dakota to go overseas in an ambulance unit. By the time he returns from Europe in The Big Money, he is a flying ace determined to get his hand in the big money. The Big Money, set in New York, delineates the moral bankruptcy of most people enjoying post-war prosperity and the book ends just on the eve of the Great Depression. Woven through the fictional narrative are Newreels, made up of headlines, newspaper stories and bits of popular songs, Camera Eyes, made up of memories of the author, and biography sections of famous Americans.

  • Damon Runyon published The Bloodhounds of Broadway in Guys and Dolls in 1931. Runyon's stories focus on a select segment of New York, a select segment of Broadway really, somewhere between Times Square and Columbus Circle. As Heywood Broun, a famous New York newspaperman and sports writer, put it:

    To me the most impressive thing in "Guys and Dolls" is the sensitivity of the ear of Damon Runyon. He has caught with a high degree of insight the actual tone and phrase of the gangsters and racketeers of this town. Their talk is put down almost literally. Of course, like any artist, Damon Runyon has exercised the privilege of selectivity. But he has not heightened or burlesqued the speech of the people who come alive in his short stories.

    It would be presumptuous of for a mere newspaperman like myself to pass any judgment on the plot and construction of these stories. That may be left more properly to the reader. All I can say is that the happenings excite me and sometimes move me. And this is so because I recognize the various characters concerned as actual people who are at this moment living and loving, fighting and scuttling no more than a quarter of a mile from the place in which I live.
    The Damon Runyon Omnibus, published in 1939, contains Guys and Dolls as well as Money From Home (1935) and Blue Plate Special (1934).

  • Seventy Thousand Assyrians was published in The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze and other stories in 1934.

  • John Fante's Ask The Dust finds Arturo Bandini living in L.A., trying to get past the block at his typewriter. In between stabs at the page, he entertains himself at a local bar where he meets Camilla, a Mayan princess. Ask The Dust is the third book in The Saga of Arturo Bandini which includes Wait Until Spring, Bandini, The Road to Los Angeles, and Dreams from Bunker Hill.