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Arlen, Michael

Michael Arlen, 1895–1956, English novelist, b. Bulgaria as Dikran Kuyumjian. The son of Armenian parents, he was brought to England as a child. In 1922 he became a British subject and changed his name, and in 1928 he married Countess Atalanta Mercati. Arlen is best remembered for his fantastically successful novel (and play) The Green Hat (1924), which depicts the licentious postwar life of fashionable London society. His characters are disillusioned, cynical, and witty. Although sophisticated, the novel is ultimately sentimental. Arlen's novels depicted the mood of the 1920s, and by the 30s he was no longer read. His last novel, Flying Dutchman, appeared in 1939.

See the biography Exiles (1970) by his son Michael J. Arlen.

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