Bowles, Paul


Bowles, Paul
▪ 2000

      American-born author and composer (b. Dec. 30, 1910, New York, N.Y.—d. Nov. 18, 1999, Tangier, Mor.), composed graceful, Maurice Ravel-influenced music for the concert hall and Broadway stage before moving (1947) to Tangier and writing the best-selling novel The Sheltering Sky (1949), set in the North African desert. His subsequent fiction similarly depicted human depravity amid exotic settings, with sordid events and psychological collapse recounted in a detached, elegant style. The son of an unloving father, Bowles grew up in Queens, N.Y., published a Surrealist poem while still in his teens, and briefly attended the University of Virginia before sailing to Europe; there he became friends with American expatriate composers and writers, including Gertrude Stein, who was intrigued by his “nihilism.” He studied music with Nadia Boulanger, Aaron Copland, and Virgil Thomson and, residing in New York City from the mid-1930s, composed many classical works, including ballets and operas, as well as incidental music for plays. There, too, the sexually ambiguous Bowles met his lesbian wife, Jane; both had many affairs during their 35-year marriage. When he helped his wife write a novel, the experience reawakened his own interest in writing fiction. The Moroccan landscape, people, and drugs were reflected in his later writings, including the novels Let It Come Down (1952) and The Spider's House (1955), Collected Stories, 1939–1976, and Days: Tangier Journal (1987–1989). He was noted for encouraging William Burroughs and other Beat Generation writers; Bowles also wrote essays about his extensive travels, collected Moroccan folk music, translated writings of Arab authors, and appeared in Bernardo Bertolucci's 1990 film adaptation The Sheltering Sky.

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▪ American composer, translator, and author
in full  Paul Frederic Bowles 
born December 30, 1910, New York, New York, U.S.
died November 18, 1999, Tangier, Morocco

      American-born composer, translator, and author of novels and short stories in which violent events and psychological collapse are recounted in a detached and elegant style. His protagonists are often Europeans or Americans who are maimed by their contact with powerful traditional cultures.

      Bowles began publishing Surrealist poetry in the Parisian magazine transition at the age of 16. After briefly attending the University of Virginia, he traveled to Paris, where his interests turned to music. In 1929 he returned to New York and began studying musical composition under Aaron Copland. Bowles became a sought-after composer, writing music for more than 30 theatrical productions and films. During this time, he also became a member of the loose society of literary expatriates in Europe and North Africa and started writing short stories. In the late 1940s, he and his wife, writer Jane Bowles (Bowles, Jane), settled in Tangier, Morocco, a city that became his most potent source of inspiration. There, he wrote his first novel, The Sheltering Sky (1949; film, 1990), a harsh tale of death, rape, and sexual obsession. It became a best-seller and made Bowles a leading figure in the city's expatriate artistic community.

      Bowles's later novels include Let It Come Down (1952), The Spider's House (1955), and Up Above the World (1966). His Collected Stories, 1939–1976 (1979) and his subsequent short-story collections, which include Midnight Mass (1981) and Call at Corazón (1988), also depict human depravity amid exotic settings. Bowles recorded Moroccan folk music for the U.S. Library of Congress, wrote travel essays, translated works from several European and Middle Eastern languages into English, and recorded and translated oral tales from Maghribi Arabic into English. Without Stopping (1972) and Two Years Beside the Strait: Tangier Journal 1987–1989 (1990; U.S. title, Days) are autobiographical.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bowles, Paul — ► (1910 99) Escritor estadounidense. El tema de sus obras se centra en el exótico mundo africano. Obras: El cielo protector, Déjale que caiga y el libro de memorias Diario de Tánger 1987 1989, entre otras …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Bowles, Paul Frederic — (1910–1999)    Though Paul Bowles is not generally known as a Beat writer, his influence on the Beats and his personal relationships with them were significant. His writings are partially responsible for inspiring William S. Burroughs to move to… …   Encyclopedia of Beat Literature

  • Bowles, Paul (Frederick) — born Dec. 30, 1910, New York, N.Y., U.S. died Nov. 18, 1999, Tangier, Mor. U.S. Moroccan composer, writer, and translator. Bowles studied composition with Aaron Copland and wrote music for more than 30 plays and films. He moved to Morocco in the… …   Universalium

  • Bowles, Paul (Frederick) — (30 dic. 1910, Nueva York, N.Y., EE.UU.–18 nov. 1999, Tánger, Marruecos). Compositor, escritor y traductor estadounidense marroquí. Bowles estudió composición con Aaron Copland y compuso la música para más de 30 obras de teatro y películas. Se… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Paul Bowles — Paul Frederic Bowles (December 30, 1910 – November 18, 1999) was an American expatriate composer, author, and translator.Following a cultured middle class upbringing in New York City, during which he displayed a talent for music and writing,… …   Wikipedia

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  • Paul Bowles — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Bowles. Paul Bowles (30 décembre 1910 18 novembre 1999) est un compositeur, écrivain, et voyageur américain. Il passa la majeure partie de sa vie au Maroc. Sommaire 1 Biographie …   Wikipédia en Français

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