Paul Bowles

Paul Bowles, 1910–99, American writer and composer, b. New York City. He studied in Paris with Virgil Thomson and Aaron Copland and composed (1930s–40s) a number of modernist operas, ballets, song cycles, and orchestral and chamber pieces. From 1947 on he lived in Tangier, Morocco. Strongly individualistic and written with an austere lack of sentimentality, his fiction is frequently set in the Arab world and often traces the corruption of innocence and the psychic disintegration of "civilized man" in a savagely primitive environment. His works include the short-story collections The Delicate Prey (1950), The Time of Friendship (1967), Collected Stories, 1939–1976 (1979), and Unwelcome Words (1988); and the novels The Sheltering Sky (1949), Up above the World (1966), and In the Red Room (1981). His 62 short stories were brought together in a 2001 collection. Bowles was also an accomplished travel writer, poet, and photographer.

See his autobiography, Without Stopping (1972); biographies by C. Sawyer-Laucanno (1989) and M. Dillon (1998); film biography, Let it Come Down (1999), by J. Baichwal; In Touch: The Letters of Paul Bowles (1994), ed. by J. Miller; Conversations with Paul Bowles (1993), ed. by G. D. Caponi; study by R. F. Patterson (1986); bibliography by J. Miller (1986).



His wife was Jane Auer Bowles, 1917–73, American writer, b. New York City. Original and idiosyncratic, her works often treat the conflict between the weak and the strong. They include the novel Two Serious Ladies (1943) and a play, In the Summer House (1954).

See her Collected Works (1978); biography by M. Dillon (1981); Out in the World: The Collected Letters of Jane Bowles (1985), ed. by M. Dillon.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Paul Bowles: Selected full-text books and articles

Paul Bowles: The Illumination of North Africa By Lawrence D. Stewart Southern Illinois University Press, 1974
Paul Bowles on Music By Paul Bowles; Timothy Mangan; Irene Herrmann University of California Press, 2003
African Settings in Contemporary American Novels By Dave Kuhne Greenwood, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Includes "Paul Bowles: Lost and Found in North Africa: The Sheltering Sky, Let It Come Down, and The Spider's House"
After the Lost Generation: A Critical Study of the Writers of Two Wars By John W. Aldridge McGraw-Hill, 1951
Librarian’s tip: Includes "Paul Bowles: The Canceled Sky"
Rumors of Change: Essays of Five Decades By Ihab Hassan University of Alabama Press, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Includes "Paul Bowles: The Pilgrim as Prey"
A Library of Literary Criticism: Modern American Literature By Dorothy Nyren; Dorothy Nyren Frederick Ungar, 1960 (3rd edition)
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