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Saroyan, William (1908-1981).

short-story writer, novelist, playwright, songwriter. Saroyan, born in Fresno, California, lived in an orphanage until his widowed mother was able to support her numerous children. He attended Fresno Junior High School, read avidly, and left school at twelve to become a telegraph messenger. His first short story to be published--in the Armenian magazine Hairenik--was reprinted in O'Brien's Best Short Stories of 1934. In the same year appeared <IR> THE DARING YOUNG MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE </IR> . Its breezy, impertinent, tender style made it an immediate success. There followed Inhale and Exhale (1936), Three Times Three (1936), Little Children (1937), Love, Here Is My Hat (1938), The Trouble with Tigers (1938), and Peace, It's Wonderful (1939). The autobiographical My Name Is Aram (1940) contains some of his best stories. The Human Comedy (1942), an exuberant novel about a boy who delivered telegrams during World War II, was largely autobiographical. His play My Heart's in the Highlands (1939) was a Broadway success, and <IR> THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE </IR> (1939) won a Pulitzer Prize, which Saroyan refused to accept. Love's Old Sweet Song (1940) and The Beautiful People (1941) were less successful. In 1961, Two by Saroyan (including The Cave Dwellers, 1958) were revived off Broadway. His later writings include The Adventures of Wesley Jackson (1946), The Assyrian and Other Stories (1950), Rock Wagram and Tracy's Tiger (1951), The Bicycle Rider of Beverly Hills (1952), The Laughing Matter (1953), The Bouncing Ball and Mama, I Love You (1956), and Papa, You're Crazy (1957). The William Saroyan Reader was published in 1958. Here Comes, There Goes You Know Who (1961) is a volume of reminiscences. His other autobiographical volumes are Not Dying (1963); and Short Drive, Sweet Chariot (1966). Boys and Girls Together (1963) and One Day in the Afternoon of the World (1964) are novels.

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Publication:Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia of American Literature
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1991
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