He makes it because his introduction to the Penguin Classics Damon Runyon collection, Guys and Dolls and Other Writings, contains in the space of two paragraphs three salient attributes of Runyon's work that I noticed in his story "Sense of Humor":
- "Sometimes we can hear Runyon's people talking above their stations, playing social roles that are lies, but we certainly don't mistake them for characters out of Edith Wharton, who do the same thing."
- "This is, of course, a fictional world. The gangsters don't speak the way real gangsters spoke in that era, or in ours."
- "Runyon is often accused of sentimentalizing his gangsters, and is sometimes guilty as charged. But a close reading of most of these stories shows us a clear darker side. His people often do terrible things to each other, and out of base motives."