Scope and Contents
The William Goyen papers are organized in five general categories: correspondence; manuscripts and notes; serial publications; reviews and publicity; and proofs and galleys. Boxes 1-4 contain correspondence, including correspondence from Goyen to William Hart (1937-1973); and correspondence from Goyen to his family (1940-1963), Boxes 2-4, and one folder of photographs, one folder of "family ephemera" such as newsclippings.
Boxes 5-10 contain notes, correspondence, and drafts for five of Goyen's major works, as follows: The House of Breath (Boxes 5-6); Ghost and Flesh (Box 7); In a Farther Country (Box 8); The Faces of Blood Kindred (Box 9); and The Fair Sister (Box 10). Serial Publications (1947-1978) are in Box 11; Reviews and Publicity are found in Box 12; and Box 13 includes Proofs and Galleys for The Collected Stories of William Goyen, Precious Door, Nine Poems, and A Book of Jesus.
Permission to publish materials from William Goyen papers must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.
Charles William Goyen, author, editor, and teacher, was born in Trinity, Texas, on April 24, 1915 and moved with his family to Houston at the age of eight. He received B.A. and M.A. degrees from Rice University (then Institute) in 1937 and 1939, respectively. After teaching for one year at the University of Houston, he left to serve in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Returning after five years, he left Houston to pursue his work as a writer, residing at various times in New Mexico, Europe, New York, and California. His East Texas origins, however, were to have an enduring influence on the speech patterns and cultural characteristics reflected in his writings.
His first novel, House of Breath, was published to critical acclaim in 1950. Subsequent publications included the novels In a Farther Country (1955), The Fair Sister (1963), and Come the Restorer (1974); Selected Writings (1974); short story collections Ghost and Flesh (1952), The Faces of Blood Kindred (1960) and The Collected Stories (1975); the non-fiction A Book of Jesus (1973); and plays The House of Breath (1956), The Diamond Rattler (1960), Christy (1964), House of Breath Black/White (1971), and Aimee (1973). He also created lyrics for the film Left-Handed Gun (1958) and served as translator for The Lazy Ones by Egyptian author Albert Cossery.
In addition to being a writer, he was instructor of English at the New School for Social Research in New York City, 1955-60; Associate in English at Columbia University, 1964-66; senior editor in the trade department at McGraw Hill, 1966-71; and visiting Professor of English at Brown University, 1973. He married the actress Doris Roberts in 1963.
Among awards he received were music awards for words and music from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (A.S.C.A.P.) in 1964, 1965, 1968, 1970, and 1971; an award from the Texas Institute of Arts and Letters, 1950; and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Rice University in 1977. He was a Guggenheim fellow in 1950 and 1952 and a Ford Foundation grantee in 1963-64. He died in Los Angeles of leukemia in August 1983, two months before his novel Arcadio was published. Since then a number of his other late works have been edited and published.