From: Moorich2@aol.com
Date: 01 Nov 2002

miker wrote:

"The hobo influence on the hardboiled genre is an interesting connection. There's an essay in Madden's TOUGH GUY WRITERS OF THE THIRTIES which specifically points to hobos as the origin of the hardboiled P.I., and I've been wanting to read Orwell's DOWN AND OUT IN PARIS AND LONDON and London's PEOPLE OF THE ABYSS for a while. Sounds like maybe I should put Tully's book on my list."

Jim Tully's BEGGARS OF LIFE is one of the best accounts of life on the road. A key London book is his THE ROAD (1907). The collection JACK LONDON ON THE ROAD edited by Richard W. Etulain (Utah State University Press 1979) gathers together all of London's other Hobo pieces as well as his tramp diary from his 1894 trek across the country.

Also recommended is THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A SUPER-TRAMP (1917) by William H. Davies. Davies tramped across North America before he lost a foot trying to jump a passenger train in Canada near a town called Renfrew. He returned to his native England where through his self-printed poetry he came to the attention of George Bernard Shaw. Shaw helped Davies find a publisher for his autobiography. It sold very well and Davies enjoyed a long career as a poet. The book includes a chilling recount of a Memphis lynching--all the more chilling because of Davies' own racist observations.

I also admire Charles Willeford's I WAS LOOKING FOR A STREET but I recall Mike read this last year and thought it rather trifling.

Tully's book was made into a silent movie also called "Beggars of Life" that starred the legendary Louise Brooks and was directed by William Wellman. Wellman, who had many adventures before reaching Hollywood, was interested enough in hobo, and specifically, road kids, that he made the movie "Wild Boys of the Road" in 1933. It is a powerful film worth seeking out. I have never seen his "Beggars" but recall reading that Brooks thought Tully was a seedy, drunken oaf.

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