Collection Scope and Content Summary
Additional Collection Guides
Language of Material:
Special Collections and Archives, University of California, Irvine
Title: Donald Heiney papers
Identifier/Call Number: MS.F.004
18.8 Linear Feet
(37 boxes, 1 flat-box)
Date (inclusive): 1947-1993
Abstract: This collection contains the
professional papers of Donald Heiney, documenting his work as a novelist and critic. It
includes manuscripts, unpublished drafts and plans, correspondence, notebooks, proofs,
newspaper clippings, photographs, and research files relating to his novels and critical
Physical Description: 17.5 linear feet
The collection is open for research. Accn 2017.004 has not been processed and may contain restricted material. Please contact
Special Collections and Archives to request access.
Property rights reside with the University of California. Copyrights are generally retained by the creators of the records
and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright
owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where the UC Regents do not hold the copyright. For information on use,
copyright, and attribution, please visit: http://special.lib.uci.edu/using/publishing.html
Donald Heiney papers. MS-F004. 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.
Gift of Donald Heiney, 1978-1988.
Preliminary processing by Special Collections and Archives staff, ca. 1996. Further
processing by Carole McEwan in 2011.
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),
Bull Fire (1973),
The Treasure of Sainte Foy (1980),
Hemingway's Suitcase (1990),
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,
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, unpublished drafts and plans,
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.
This collection is arranged in 2 series:
- Series 1. Fiction writings, 1947-1990
- Series 2. Nonfiction writings, 1947-1989
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Italian literature -- History and criticism
American fiction -- 20th century -- History and criticism.
Novelists, American -- 20th century -- Archives
Galley proofs (Publishing)
Authors and publishers -- United States -- Correspondence -- 20th
University of California, Irvine -- Faculty -- Archives
Heiney, Donald -- Archives