William Saroyan

William Saroyan (səroi´ən), 1908–81, American author, b. Fresno, Calif. Of Armenian background and extremely prolific, he created works that combine optimism, sentimentality, and a rhapsodic love of country. These include plays such as The Time of Your Life (1939; Pulitzer Prize), My Heart's in the Highlands (1939), and The Cave Dwellers (1957); novels, including The Human Comedy (1942; he won a 1943 Academy Award for the screenplay he adapted from the book) and Boys and Girls Together (1963); short-story volumes, notably The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze (1934), his first published book, and My Name is Aram (1940); and such autobiographical works as Here Comes, There Goes You Know Who (1961) and Places Where I've Done Time (1972). Saroyan fell out of fashion in the post–World War II era and, although he continued to produce masses of manuscripts, he never again captured wide popular attention.

See memoir by V. Samuelian (1985); biographies by L. Lee and B. Gifford (1984) and J. Leggett (2002); studies by D. S. Calonne (1983), E. H. Foster (1984), and N. Balakian (1998).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

William Saroyan: Selected full-text books and articles

Razzle Dazzle By William Saroyan Harcourt Brace and Company, 1942
American Literature and the Dream By Frederic I. Carpenter Philosophical Library, 1955
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 19 "The Time of William Saroyan's Life"
The Columbia Companion to the Twentieth-Century American Short Story By Blanche H. Gelfant; Lawrence Graver Columbia University Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of William Saroyan begins on p. 504
The Boys in the Back Room: Notes on California Novelists By Edmund Wilson Colt Press, 1941
Librarian’s tip: "William Saroyan" begins on p. 23
Freud on Broadway: A History of Psychoanalysis and the American Drama By W. David Sievers Hermitage House, 1955
Librarian’s tip: "Surrealism--Stein and Saroyan" begins on p. 240
Broadway Scrapbook By Brooks Atkinson Theatre Arts, 1947
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 26 "My Heart's in the Highlands"
Classics and Commercials: A Literary Chronicle of the Forties By Edmund Wilson Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1950
Librarian’s tip: "William Saroyan and His Darling Old Providence" begins on p. 327
Sights and Spectacles, 1937-1956 By Mary McCarthy Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, 1956
Librarian’s tip: "Saroyan, an Innocent on Broadway" begins on p. 46
New Immigrant Literatures in the United States: A Sourcebook to Our Multicultural Literary Heritage By Alpana Sharma Knippling Greenwood Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Armenian-American Literature"
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