Special Collections Department
Letters to William Saroyan
Manuscript Collection Number: 323
Accessioned: Purchase, 1991.
Extent: 12 items.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: April 1996 by Anita Wellner.
Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
Table of Contents
Paul Bowles has also had a prominent career as a composer. He studied with both Aaron Copland and Virgil Thomson, and during the 1930s and 1940s became one of the pre-eminent composers of American theater music.
In 1938, Paul Bowles married the former Jane Auer, who, under her married name, became an accomplished author. Paul and Jane Bowles spent much of their married life traveling throughout the world and in the late 1940s made Tangier, Morocco, their permanent home. Jane Bowles died in 1973, but Bowles has continued to reside in Tangier.
Novelist, playwright, and composer William Saroyan was born on August 31, 1908 in Fresno, California. During his career Saroyan wrote over four hundred short stories, including his noted "My Name Is Aram" (1940) and "The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze," which received an O. Henry Award in 1934.
He also composed the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, The Time of Your Life (1939) and what has been called the first anti-war novel, The Adventures of Wesley Jackson (1946). Saroyan's famous novel The Human Comedy (1943) was produced as a movie, starring Mickey Rooney and featuring Rosemary Clooney's hit song "Come On-A My House," which Saroyan composed.
His autobiographical works are titled The Bicycle Rider in Beverly Hills (1952) and Sons Come and Go, Mothers Hang In Forever (1976).
William Saroyan died on May 18, 1981, in Fresno, California.
Sources:Locher, Frances C. (ed.) Contemporary Authors. Volume 103. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1982.
Miller, Jeffrey. Paul Bowles: A Descriptive Bibliography. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Black Sparrow Press, 1986.
Sawyer-Lauçanno, Christopher. An Invisible Spectator: A Biography of Paul Bowles. New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1989.
Scope and Content Note
This exchange of letters was prompted by Paul Bowles' interest in collaborating with William Saroyan on an opera. The letters follow Bowles' thoughts on such a joint venture, from choosing a subject, through describing his work on the score for Opera, Opera, and finally to the ultimate demise of the project in 1942, when Bowles writes that Opera, Opera is "dead."
In his letters Bowles also mentions his health problems and travels, praises Saroyan's Subway Circus, inquires about the production of Jim Dandy, and invites Saroyan to join him and Jane Bowles in Mexico.
Related collections:Ms 110 Pagany Archive
Ms 163 Paul Bowles Papers
Ms 164 Paul Bowles Collection
Unprocessed Peter Owen Limited Archive
Bowles, Paul, 1910- Letters to Saroyan, William, 1908- F1 [1937 Nov 16] ACS 1p  Jul 21 TLS 1p 1941 Jul 31 TLS 1p Sep 5 TLS 1p Oct 13 TLS 1p Nov 25 TLS 1p F2  Feb 25 TLS 1p Note: Includes TL (carbon) letter from Saroyan to Bowles (1942 Apr 16)  Apr 30 ALS 2p [n.d.] TLS 1p [n.d.] TLS 1p [n.d.] TLS 1p
Back to the UD Special Collections Home Page