William Goyen (1915-1983) was an American original, acclaimed nationally and internationally, and one of the most important writers ever to be associated with the regional culture and literary history of Texas. Called "one of the great American writers of short fiction" by the New York Times Book Review, Goyen also authored the novels The House of Breath, In a Farther Country, Come, the Restorer, and Arcadio, as well as plays, poetry, and nonfiction. His literary works manifest an intimate intensity of feeling and an inimitable tone of voice, reflecting Goyen's lifelong desire to create art that was at once a spiritual quest for universal truths and an evocation of the rhythms of speech and storytelling of his native East Texas.
This volume contains all of the uncollected autobiographical writings of William Goyen, including essays previously published in American periodicals and literary journals; interviews published in Paris Review, TriQuarterly, and the French magazine Masques; and previously unpublished materials drawn from Goyen's papers in the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin. The writings span Goyen's entire adult life, from youthful journals to autobiographical sketches to his long sketch for an autobiographical book, Six Women, which profiles women whom Goyen felt had influenced him deeply: Frieda Lawrence, Dorothy Brett, Mabel Dodge Luhan, Margo Jones, Millicent Rogers, and Katherine Anne Porter. The volume also contains late essays on growing up in Houston, writing from life, and illness and recovery.
While most of William Goyen's work was autobiographical, writing a traditional autobiography proved to be inimical to his artistic sensibility and style. Thus, the pieces collected in Goyen constitute the most complete autobiography that we will ever have from this highly regarded writer.