William Saroyan

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Saroyan, William


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.


The 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.


Orlova, 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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
director Marine Zakaryan completed shooting the feature film Crescent Lagoon based on William Saroyan's novels.
William Saroyan's autobiographical The Bicycle Rider in Beverly Hills describes his experiences as a messenger and what he learned from riding: "I was not yet sixteen when I understood a great deal, from having ridden bicycles for so long, about style, speed, grace, purpose, value, form, integrity, health, humor, music, breathing, and finally and perhaps best, of the relationship between the beginning and the end." For Henry Miller in My Bike and Other Friends, his brakeless one-speeder, made in Chemnitz, Saxony, was his "best friend," a bearer of many joys.
Mencken, William Saroyan, and screenwriter Ben Hecht.
Wystan Auden, Tennessee Williams, William Saroyan, Jim Farrell, Carl Van Vechten, Marianne Moore, Stephen Spender, William Carlos Williams, Lincoln Kirstein, and Bill Benet were ogled and fought over like movie stars in fron the Hampshire House.
In 1934, celebrated author William Saroyan challenged himself to write one finished short story per day for a month, with the resulting work to be submitted to Story magazine for publication.
Bates, in his 1941 book The Modern Short Story, described as a modern American renaissance begun by Sherwood Anderson, taken up by Ernest Hemingway, and carried into the 1930s by William Faulkner, Erskine Caldwell, Katherine Anne Porter, and William Saroyan" (and Zora Neale Hurston).
Ring Lardner, William Saroyan's The Human Comedy, Kingsley Amis, and Dashiell Hammett's The Thin Man.
This engaging book features Hirschfeld's lively caricatures, prints, and drawings of Harlem's thriving nightlife and culture, as well as essays by William Saroyan, Zora Neale Thurston, and others.
Thoreau, Henry Miller, James Baldwin and William Saroyan were helpful here.
I never expected to have any connection with William Saroyan but now
It is the rural California made famous by John Steinbeck and the Armenian author William Saroyan.
And now the alley next to City Lights is named for Kerouac and the alley across the street honors William Saroyan, thanks to a late-'80s Ferlinghetti-inspired campaign to rename streets after these writers and others like Rexroth, Twain, and Dashiell Hammett.