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Guide to the Donald Heiney Papers MS.F.004
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing History
  • Historical Background
  • Collection Scope and Content Summary
  • Collection Arrangement

  • Title: Donald Heiney papers
    Identifier/Call Number: MS.F.004
    Contributing Institution: Special Collections and Archives, University of California, Irvine Libraries
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 13.8 Linear feet (32 boxes, 1 flat-box)
    Date (inclusive): 1947-1990
    Abstract: This collection contains the professional papers of Donald Heiney, documenting his work as a novelist and critic. It includes manuscripts, correspondence, notebooks, proofs, newspaper clippings, photographs, and research files relating to his novels and critical works.
    General Physical Description note: 17.5 linear feet
    Creator: Heiney, Donald, 1921-1993


    The collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact the Head of Special Collections and University Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    Donald Heiney Papers. MS-F04. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California. Date accessed.
    For the benefit of current and future researchers, please cite any additional information about sources consulted in this collection, including permanent URLs, item or folder descriptions, and box/folder locations.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Donald Heiney, 1978-1988.

    Processing History

    Preliminary processing by Special Collections and Archives staff, ca. 1996. Further processing by Carole McEwan in 2011.

    Historical Background

    Donald Heiney was born in South Pasadena, California on September 7, 1921. He spent World War II as a merchant marine and a naval officer in Europe and the South Pacific. After the war, he received a B.A. (1948), from the University of Redlands and an M.A. (1949) and Ph.D.(1952) from the University of Southern California where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He continued at USC as a post-doctoral lecturer until 1953 when he joined the faculty at the University of Utah. During this period in the fifties and early sixties, he wrote and published scholarly material in the field of comparative literature, including two university books on Italian fiction. He also published translations including, among others, works by Rilke and Italo Calvino. In 1965, Heiney joined the faculty of the University of California, Irvine as a full professor. Along with Hazard Adams and James B. Hall, he was instrumental in establishing the Department of English and Comparative Literature in the pioneer years of the campus, and served as director of the Program on Comparative Literature (1965-1970). He traveled frequently in Europe and in 1973-74 he served as visiting professor at thte Universite de Paris III (La Sorbonne), lecturing in American literature and also demonstrating the teaching of creative writing. Upon returning from France, he decided to devote himself exclusively to his fiction writing although he continued to teach at UC Irvine in the Master of Fine Arts, Program in writing until his retirement in 1991. In 1986, he received The Distinguished Faculty Lectureship Award from his academic colleagues.
    At the same time he was beginning his academic career, he embarked on his career as a fiction writer, selling his first story to the national magazine Esquire in 1947. He used the pseudonym MacDonald Harris for his fiction writing. As he explained for this biography in World Authors 1985-1990: "My legal name is Donald Heiney. The use of a fictional pseudonym, which I began with my earliest stories, has provided a convenient form of controlled schizophrenia which has enabled me to cling to an artistic temperment and a creative outlook even though I've lived most of my life in a banaly bourgeois atmosphere. The problem for a writer in those circumstances, I think, is to resist the forces that attempt to make him normal and to remain a little crazy. In this, at least, I think I have succeeded. If I could characterize the development of my writing over the years, I would say that it has become odder and more idiosyncratic, and at the same time more accessible to larger number of readers. I find that a difficult achievement, and one that I am pleased with."
    He published sixteen major novels: Private Demons (1961), Mortal Leap (1964), Treplaff (1968), Bull Fire (1973), The Balloonist (1976), Yukiko (1977), Pandora's Galley (1979), The Treasure of Sainte Foy (1980), Herma (1981), Screenplay (1983), Tenth 1984), The Little People (1986), Glowstone (1987), Hemingway's Suitcase (1990), Glad Rags (1991), A Portrait of my Desire (1993)
    The Balloonist was nominated for a National Book Award in 1976. He received the Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1982, and grants from the American Council of Learned Societies and the American Philosophical Society. In 1985 he received a special citation from PEN for his novel Tenth. Many of his novels were widely reprinted and translated.
    Heiney married Ann Borgman in 1948 and had two sons: Paul, born in 1954, and Conrad, in 1964. He died of a heart attack in his home in Newport Beach, California on July 24, 1993.

    Collection Scope and Content Summary

    This collection contains the professional papers of Donald Heiney, documenting his work as a novelist and critic. It includes manuscripts, correspondence, notebooks, proofs, newspaper clippings, photographs, and research files relating to his novels and critical works. The papers are particularily rich with correspondence with his publishers.

    Collection Arrangement

    This collection is arranged in 2 series:
    • Series 1. Fiction writings, 1947-1990
    • Series 2. Nonfiction writings, 1947-1989

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Heiney, Donald, 1921-1993 -- Archives.
    University of California, Irvine -- Faculty -- Archives.
    American fiction -- 20th century -- History and criticism.
    Authors and publishers -- United States -- Correspondence -- 20th century
    Book reviews
    Galley proofs (Publishing)
    Italian literature -- History and criticism
    Novelists, American -- 20th century -- Archives
    Short stories