He continued to keep a diary of imaginary goings-on during this time, and also wrote a daily newspaper. In 1922, at age 11, Bowles bought his first book of poetry, Arthur Waley's A Hundred and Seventy Chinese Poems. In high school he attended a performance of Stravinsky's Firebird at Carnegie Hall which made a profound impression. Bowles entered the University of Virginia in 1928, where his interests included T. S.
Eliot's The Waste Land, Prokofiev, Duke Ellington, Gregorian chants, and the blues, and he published two items in transition. He also heard music by George Antheil and Henry Cowell. In April 1929 he dropped out of school to make his first trip to Paris where he worked as a switchboard operator for the Herald Tribune. He returned home in July and took a job at Duttons Bookshop in Manhattan.
While employed at the store he began work on a book of fiction, Without Stopping (not to be confused with his later autobiography of the same title), which he never finished. At the insistence of his parents he returned to the University of Virginia, but he left the university in June 1931 without earning a degree. France and New York On a subsequent trip to France in 1931, he 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. In Berlin, he met Stephen Spender and Christopher Isherwood, who gives the name Bowles to the heroine of Goodbye to Berlin. The following year he returned to North Africa and traveled throughout other parts of Morocco, the Sahara, Algeria and Tunisia.
Throughout the next decade, Bowles composed a good body of music including sonatas, song cycles, and music for stage productions (including Doctor Faustus directed by Orson Welles, the orchestration for George Balanchine's Yankee Clipper at Lincoln Kirstein's request), and also made early recordings of North African music. In 1938 he married author and playwright Jane Auer (Feb. 22, 1917 - May 4, 1973), and after a brief sojourn in France 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. His light opera The Wind Remains, based on a poem by García Lorca, was performed in 1943 with choreography by Merce Cunningham and conducted by Leonard Bernstein. In 1945 he unexpectedly began writing prose again, beginning with a few short stories including A Distant Episode.
He also translated Jorge Luis Borges at this time, and his translation of the play No Exit (entitled Huis-clos in French) by Jean-Paul Sartre, directed by John Huston, won a Drama Critic's Award. The subsequent year, he received an advance for a novel, and began writing The Sheltering Sky, which quickly rose to the New York Times best-seller list when published by New Directions. Tangier and elsewhere Also in 1947, he moved permanently to Tangier, and his wife Jane followed him there in 1948. The Bowleses became icons of the Tangerinos—American and European expatriates centered in Tangier. During the following decade Bowles wrote many of his best prose works.
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. 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, William S. Burroughs and Gregory Corso followed in the mid-1950s.
In 1952 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. In 1961, Bowles began tape-recording and translating works of Moroccan authors and story-tellers including stories by Mohamed Choukri, Ahmed Yacoubi, Larbi Layachi (under the pseudonym Driss ben Hamed Charhadi), and Mohammed Mrabet. Oddly, Bowles spent one term at the English Department of the San Fernando Valley State College, (now California State University, Northridge) in 1968, lecturing on existentialism and the novel. Most of the time however, he remained in Tangier with brief interludes overseas. He also translated short stories and diary entries by Swiss adventurer and writer Isabelle Eberhardt (The Oblivion Seekers). Bowles was a longtime friend of the Australian composer Peggy Glanville-Hicks. Later years After the death of Jane Bowles in 1973 in Málaga, Spain, Bowles continued to live in Tangier, writing and receiving visitors to his modest apartment.
In 1995 Paul 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. After his death in 1999, the estate of Paul Bowles established his official site: The Authorized Paul Bowles Web Site, at www.paulbowles.org, which also contains a biography of Paul Bowles as composer. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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