Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Paul Bowles (December 30, 1910 - November 18, 1999), was a composer, author, and traveler. He was born in Jamaica, Queens, New York City to Rena and Claude Bowles. His mother read Edgar Alan Poe to him as a child and he eventually attended the University of Virginia. In 1929 he dropped out of school to make his first trip to Paris. On a subsequent trip to France in 1931, he became became a part of Gertrude Stein's literary and artistic circle and on her advice, that summer he made his first visit to Tangier with his friend and music teacher the composer Aaron Copland. The following year he returned to North Africa and traveled throughout other parts of Morocco, the Sahara and Algeria. In 1938 he married author and playwright Jane Auer, and they were prominent among the literary figures of New York throughout the 1940s, with Paul working under Virgil Thomson as a music critic at the New York Herald Tribune. In 1947, he moved permanently to Tangier, and his wife Jane followed him there in 1948. The Bowleses became iconoclasts of the Tangerinos —American and European expatriates centered in Tangier.
Prominent literary friends visited Paul and Jane Bowles in Tangier beginning in the late 1940s, including Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams and Gore Vidal. The Beat writers Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs followed in the 1950s. In Morocco, Bowles concentrated on writing novels, short stories and travel pieces, and wrote incidental music for nine plays presented by the American School of Tangier . In the early 1950s Bowles bought the tiny island of Taprobane, off the coast of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), where he wrote much of his novel The Spider's House, returning to Tangier in the warmer months.
After the death of Jane Bowles in 1973 in Malaga, Spain, Bowles continued to live in Tangier, writing and receiving visitors to his modest apartment. In 1995 Bowles made a rare and final return to New York for a festival of his music at the Lincoln Center and a symposium and interview held at the New School for Social Research.
Paul Bowles died of heart failure at the Italian Hospital in Tangier on November 18, 1999 at the age of 88. The following day a full-page obituary appeared in The New York Times. Although he had lived in Morocco for 52 years, he was buried in Lakemont, New York , next to the graves of his parents and grandparents.
- The Sheltering Sky (1949)
- Let It Come Down (1952)
- The Spider's House (1955)
- Up Above the World (1966)
He also published fourteen short story collections and three volumes of poetry. Among his life's accomplishments were translations of stories from the oral tradition of native Moroccan storytellers including Mohammed Mrabet , Driss Ben Hamed Charhadi (Larbi Layachi ), Abdeslam Boulaich and Ahmed Yacoubi . He also translated the Moroccan author Mohammed Choukri . Bowles spent five weeks in 1959 recording 'andaluz' as well as traditional Berber tribal music while traveling around Morocco. Two recordings have been commercially released and all are archived in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
- After his death, Bowles' literary and musical heirs established the official Paul Bowles site which contains information on his life and works, as a composer and a writer.
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