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Paul Bowles letters to Art Gibney


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

The American composer and author Paul Frederic Bowles was born in New York City on December 30, 1910. In 1938, Paul Bowles married the aspiring writer Jane Auer. Inspired by his wife's success and her dedication to writing, Bowles began his own career as an author, eventually surpassing his already successful reputation as a composer. After the 1940s, he produced numerous works of fiction, essays, travel writing, poems, autobiographical pieces, and other works.

Miller, Jeffrey. Paul Bowles: A Descriptive Bibliography. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Black Sparrow Press, 1986.

Sawyer-Laucanno, Christopher. An Invisible Spectator: A Biography of Paul Bowles. New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1989.

Art Gibney is the author of

Skin of Earth, Stories from Nevada's Back Country. Gibney's short fiction has appeared in many literary publications including the International Quarterly, The Crescent Review, Other Voices, ZYZZYVA, and Story Quarterly.

University of Nevada Press. accessed April 2010).

Paul Bowles wrote each of these three letters in response to letters he had received from Art Gibney.

These letters answered specific questions posed by Gibney, were all written from Tangier, Morocco, and were accompanied by stamped envelopes.

In the first letter, dated September 9, 1981, Bowles responded to questions concerning whether he was still “alive,” what he was “thinking,” and what his “world view” was. He wrote that he was always thinking the same thing: “which words will best express the thoughts, and how ought they to be arranged?”

The second letter, which Bowles wrote on December 23, 1981, responded to a question regarding employment for teachers of English as a second language in Morocco. Bowles mentioned the American School and the American Language Center and was generally encouraging; though he noted that he had no connections with either institution. He also commented on what he termed "moral fiber" in writing.

In the final letter, dated March 7, 1982, Bowles spoke of his current projects; namely, copying and rewriting songs from the 1930s and 1940s for publication and translating work by Mohammed Mrabet. He also discussed what was "shaping the contemporary literary mode" and his lack of plans to visit the United States.

Box 60, F0866: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0099 manuscript boxes.

Purchase, 2009.

Processed and encoded by Anita Wellner, April 2010. Further encoded by George Apodaca, November 2015.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2015 November 9
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

Paul Bowles letters to Art Gibney.
Box 60 Folder F0866

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