The Human Comedy (novel)

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The Human Comedy
William Saroyan - The Human Comedy (novel).jpg
First edition cover
AuthorWilliam Saroyan
IllustratorDon Freeman
CountryUnited States
Publication date
February 4, 1943
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)

The Human Comedy is a 1943 novel by William Saroyan.

Themes and setting[edit]

The story of The Human Comedy, and the characters Homer and Ulysses in particular, is based on Saroyan's life, living fatherless with his siblings and his mother. Ithaca, California is based on the real town of Fresno, California, Saroyan's hometown.

The book contains several references to Homer's Odyssey. Homer is the name of both the author of the Odyssey and the main character in this novel. Homer's young brother's name, Ulysses, is the Roman form of the name Odysseus, the protagonist of Odyssey; the books share the theme of returning home. Ithaca is both Homer's and Ulysses' hometown in the novel and Odysseus' home island in the Odyssey. Helen Eliot, referring to Helen of Troy, is used as the girl that Homer loves.

The story occurs during World War II.


Dell paperbacks released a revised edition of the novel in 1966; the revised edition is credited to William Saroyan, with several substantial edits that reduce the story to 192 pages.[1]



The original film was released in 1943.

A second version, Ithaca (2015), was directed by Meg Ryan. Filming began in Richmond, Virginia and Petersburg, Virginia in July 2014.[2]

Comic strip[edit]

In 1943 Nick Hoffer drew a newspaper comic strip based on The Human Comedy, which ran in Le Petit Journal, a Québec newspaper. [3]


The book was adapted by S. Lee Pogostin for television in 1959. This adaptation stars Michael J. Pollard and features narration by Burgess Meredith.


  1. ^ Changes to "The Human Comedy" by William Saroyan – 1943 and 1966 editions
  2. ^ Heil, Emily (June 23, 2014). "When Sally met Terry: Meg Ryan's directorial debut to film in Va." The Washington Post. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  3. ^

External links[edit]

Urdu Translation by Shafiq-ur-Rahman titled "Insaani Tamasha"