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Paul Bowles correspondence with Tom Christie


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

American writer and editor Tom Christie studied film at UCLA. He corresponded with Paul Bowles while he was in his 20s, between 1981 and 1985. During this time, Christie wrote for several different publications and worked on screenplays based on Bowles's writings. Christie also worked as an assistant editor at the

L.A. Reader for a brief period from 1984 through 1985 and as an editor at L.A. Weekly from 1995 through 2010.

Christie, Tom. "'No Films Are Ever Made': A Correspondence with Paul Bowles." Los Angeles Review of Books, August 20, 2018. (accessed April 16, 2021).Other biographical information derived from the collection.

The American composer and author Paul Frederic Bowles (1910-1999) produced numerous works of fiction, essays, travel writing, poems, autobiographical pieces, and other works.

Paul Bowles married the aspiring writer Jane Auer in 1938. 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.

In 1947, Paul and Jane Bowles made Tangier, Morocco, their permanent home. During this time, Paul Bowles was the so-called "dean of American expatriate writers," and many major figures in the world of letters and the arts frequently visited the Bowleses in Tangier. Jane Bowles died in 1973, and Paul Bowles continued to reside in Tangier until his death on November 18, 1999.

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.

This collection consists of forty-four letters, most of which are correspondence between American expatriate author and composer Paul Bowles and Tom Christie, an American writer and admirer of Bowles. The letters were written between April 1981 and March 1985, and in them, Bowles and Christie discuss Christie's efforts to adapt Bowles's writings, especially his short story "The Hours After Noon," into screenplays. Bowles also mentions other proposals to adapt his work into film. In several letters, Christie explains various film and television topics to Bowles. In later letters, the discussion broadens to include other topics related to writing and favorite writers.

Seventeen of the letters are from Bowles to Christie, all but one with their original mailing envelopes, and sent from Bowles's home in Tangier, Morocco. Twenty of the letters are Christie's carbon copies of his letters to Bowles. Most of Christie's letters are sent from his home in Los Angeles, California. Five of the letters are correspondence between Tom Christie and Paul Bowles's literary agent, Ned Leavitt. One additional photocopy of a letter from Lindsay Law, an executive producer at Playhouse, is included in the collection, informing Tom Christie that they have received his screenplay for Bowles's "The Frozen Fields." Enclosed with Bowles's letter from November 24, 1981, is a short letter from Marie Inness, a friend of Christie in London.

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Purchase, 2018

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University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
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 Department, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

Box 1 Folder F1
Scope and Contents

Letters chiefly concern Christie's proposal to write a film adaptation of "The Hours After Noon."

Box 1 Folder F2
Scope and Contents

Letters contain continued discussion of "The Hours After Noon" script, as well as Christie's adaptation of "The Frozen Fields." In a February 5th letter, Bowles describes his writing process.

Box 1 Folder F3
Scope and Contents

Letters contain comments on an article that Christie wrote about Bowles, as well as continued discussion about "The Frozen Fields." Bowles' letter of January 2, 1983, gives some of his thoughts on literary criticism and criticism of his work.

Box 1 Folder F4
Scope and Contents

Letters from 1984 include an exchange between Christie and Bowles about whether a documentary film can be successfully made on the topic of writing.

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