Marshall Field
His wit was hard-boiled

WE think we know Damon Runyon, and we might think we're pretty jaded about him, but a fat new anthology, " 'Guys and Dolls' and Other Writings" (Penguin: 636 pp., $18 paper), introduced by Pete Hamill and edited and annotated by Cornell professor Daniel R. Schwarz, makes us see afresh a writer whose hard-bitten and ironic point of view prefigures the fictional worlds of "The Godfather" and "The Sopranos." There's much more to Runyon than Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra looking sharp and talking cute in the 1955 film version of "Guys and Dolls." Alfred Damon Runyan was born in 1880 in Manhattan, Kan., and he grew up in Pueblo,...