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William Goyen

William Goyen
Selected Letters from a Writer’s Life
Edited by Robert Phillips; afterword by Sir Stephen Spender

These letters, which span the years 1937 to 1983, chronicle Goyen's long participation in the writing life and offer a compelling testament to what it means to be a writer in America.

March 1995
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471 pages | 6 x 9 | 17 b&w illus. |

Proclaimed "one of the great American writers of short fiction" by the New York Times Book Review, William Goyen (1915-1983) had a quintessentially American literary career, in which national recognition came only after years of struggle to find his authentic voice, his audience, and an artistic milieu in which to create. These letters, which span the years 1937 to 1983, offer a compelling testament to what it means to be a writer in America.

A prolific correspondent, Goyen wrote regularly to friends, family, editors, and other writers. Among the letters selected here are those to such major literary figures as W. H. Auden, Archibald MacLeish, Joyce Carol Oates, William Inge, Elia Kazan, Elizabeth Spencer, and Katherine Anne Porter.

These letters constitute a virtual autobiography, as well as a fascinating introduction to Goyen's work. They add an important chapter to the study of American and Texas literature of the twentieth century.

  • Introduction
  • Notes on the Text
  • Acknowledgments
  • Chronology
  • One. Houston, Canal Zone, Oakland, Medford, Taos, Los Angeles, Berkeley, 1937–1947
  • Two. Napa, Dallas, Portland, 1947–1949
  • Three. London, New York, Dallas, Chicago, Saratoga Springs, Houston, 1949–1951
  • Four. New York, Shelter Island, East Hampton, Taos, Rome, Naples, Zürich, 1952–1954
  • Five. Taos, New York, 1954–1957
  • Six. Bucks County, New York, Boston, West Germany, New York, Weston, Los Angeles, 1957–1978
  • Seven. Los Angeles, New York, Los Angeles, 1978–1983
  • Afterword by Stephen Spender
  • Index of Recipients
  • General Index

A longtime friend of William Goyen's, editor Robert Phillips is Director of the Creative Writing Program and Professor of English at the University of Houston. He also edited Letters of Delmore Schwartz and Delmore Schwartz and James Laughlin: Selected Letters.


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