This is a collection of correspondence, spanning eight decades in the life of Paul Bowles. Despite his reclusiveness, Bowles has been an indefatigable correspondent, and his letters provide a look at the many aspects of his diverse career - as composer, novelist, travel writer, translator, ethnographer and critic. From his earliest surviving ...
This is a collection of correspondence, spanning eight decades in the life of Paul Bowles. Despite his reclusiveness, Bowles has been an indefatigable correspondent, and his letters provide a look at the many aspects of his diverse career - as composer, novelist, travel writer, translator, ethnographer and critic. From his earliest surviving letter, written at the age of four, to his precocious surrealist effusions to Gertrude Stein and Aaron Copland; from his meditations on the effects of mescaline to his moving letters to his wife Jane during her last illness, the book aims to fill in the gaps left by previous biographers and by Bowles's autobiography "Without Stopping" (so notoriously unrevealing that it was nicknamed "Without Telling"). Here is Bowles on the genesis of his novels; on his dogged expeditions attempting to record Moroccan tribal music; on the Beats, Gore Vidal, Truman Capote and Tennesee Williams; on appearing as an elderly extra in Bernado Bertulocci's film of "The Sheltering Sky". Gossipy and reflective, the book is both an epistolary autobiography and a chronicle of the 20th-century avant-garde from Tristan Tzara to David Byrne.
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As a huge fan of the correspondence of my Darlings and Darling Movements, I could not pass up the opportunity to read into Paul Bowles's own, as he put it.
Insightful, yes, but a bit trite. Cameo upon cameo and replete with subtle forms of self-aggrandizement.
Still, a great read for fans of his work.
Publishers Weekly, 1993-12-06 Expatriate American novelist, story writer and composer Bowles, who has lived in Morocco for nearly a half century, is a prolific letter writer, as attested to by his expansive, conversational correspondences with the likes of Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Gore Vidal and Virgil Thomson. A vast humming tableau of the avant-garde, these 400-plus letters extending from 1928 to 1991, vividly evoke Bowles's frenetic activity in the Paris of the 1930s and '40s, where he met Jean Cocteau, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein and painter Pavel Tchelitchew. Peppered with firsthand impressions of Tennessee Williams, Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Schwitters, Aaron Copland and many others, the volume, edited by his biographer, also contains Bowles's sharp lyrical travel observations from Mexico to Ceylon, as well as his reflections on the unconscious processes that guide his writing of fiction. Most revealing are his letters to his wife Jane Bowles during her 16 years of suffering from a neurological disorder that destroyed her eyesight and led to strokes, convulsive seizures and electroshock therapy for depression. Photos. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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