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Born Aug. 31, 1908, in Fresno, Calif. American writer.
Saroyan is the son of Armenian emigrants. He has lived in Europe since 1960. His first book was the short-story collection The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze (1934), which was followed by Inhale and Exhale (1936), Little Children (1937), The Trouble With Tigers (1938), My Name Is Aram (1940), Rock Wagram (1951), and The Whole Voyald and Other Stories (1956). Saroyan’s plays were first staged in the late 1930’s. They include My Heart’s in the Highlands (1939), The Time of Your Life (1939, Pulitzer Prize), The Cave Dwellers (1939), and Get Away, Old Man (1944).
Saroyan has written the novels The Human Comedy (1943; Russian translation, 1958) and The Adventures of Wesley Jackson (1946; Russian translation, 1959) and various works depicting family and psychological conflicts among intellectuals, for example, Mama, I Love You (1956; Russian translation, 1970), Papa, You’re Crazy (1957; Russian translation, 1964), and Boys and Girls Together (1963).
Since the 1960’s, Saroyan has written mainly autobiographical sketches, essays, memoirs, and articles on current affairs, collected in Not Dying (1963), Days of Life and Death and Escape to the Moon (1970), and Places Where I’ve Done Time (1972).
Saroyan depicts the life of ordinary Americans, especially poor Armenians, among whom he spent his childhood and adolescence. He writes of his love for the common people in a kindly tone that borders on sentimentality. Saroyan’s works are characterized by the author’s distinctive sense of humor, vivid imagination, and colorful descriptions of everyday life.
WORKSThe William Saroyan Reader. New York, 1958.
Letters From 74 Rue Taitbon. New York, 1968.
I Used to Believe I Had Forever, Now I’m Not So Sure. New York, 1969.
In Russian translation:
60 mil’ ν chas: Rasskazy. Moscow, 1958.
”Chto-to smeshnoe: Ser’eznaia povest’.” Literaturnaia Armeniia, 1963, nos. 5–8.
Put’vashei zhizni: P’esy. Moscow, 1966.
REFERENCESOrlova, R. “Dobryi uteshitel’.” In her Potomki Gekl’berri Finna. Moscow, 1964.
Gonchar, N. “Tochnosf detail i pravda obraza.” Literaturnaia Armeniia, 1973, no. 9.
Floan, H. R. William Saroyan. New York, 1966.
I. M. LEVIDOVA