University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department


PAUL BOWLES, 1910 - 1999


NOVELS

Paul Bowles began his career as a poet in the late 1920s, succeeded as a composer of music in the 1930s, and became prolific as an author of short stories and translations in the 1940s. But it was the publication of his first novel, The Sheltering Sky, in 1949, that secured his reputation as a writer and eclipsed his acclaim in all other endeavors. The Sheltering Sky was hailed by critics and brought Bowles international renown. Over the course of the next two decades Bowles wrote

The Sheltering Sky

24. The Sheltering Sky. London: John Lehmann, [1949]

three additional novels, Let it Come Down (1952), The Spider's House (1955), and Up Above the World (1966); however, none matched the success of The Sheltering Sky. His career as a novelist effectively ended with the publication of Up Above the World in 1966, when Bowles's concentrated efforts at writing were distracted by increasing demands on his time in arranging for health care for his ailing wife Jane. Thereafter, his writing was devoted to short fiction, translations, travel pieces, and life writing.

With six different American and British publishers for his four novels, Bowles did not have a regular publishing house building a catalog of his works, dedicated to keeping him in print. An expatriate lifestyle kept him largely out of the public view, but his status as a cult figure and the continuing interest in his work from independent publishers after the 1960s, such as The Ecco Press, Peter Owen, and Black Sparrow Press, helped ensure that all four novels were usually in print for the relatively small group of devotees who sought him out. The opening of Bernardo Bertolucci's film adaptation of The Sheltering Sky in 1990

launched Paul Bowles back into the public eye and brought renewed interest in Bowles's work as

a novelist. All four of his novels, but especially The Sheltering Sky, were reissued in multiple editions and numerous translations. At the time of his death in November 1999, Paul Bowles had reclaimed his place as one of the most significant American novelists of the latter half of the twentieth century.

The University of Delaware Library's Paul Bowles collection includes a comprehensive collection of first British and American editions of all of his separate publications, and a very strong collection of variant editions and translations, including copies from Bowles's personal library. Paul Bowles's papers comprise a variety of source material relating to his novels, including manuscripts and editorial material, filmscripts and treatment proposals, galley proofs, manuscripts of translations, and correspondence with publishers, editors, filmmakers, translators, and scholars of his work.

The Sheltering Sky, 1990 movie poster

29. The Sheltering Sky. The press kit for the 1990 Warner Bros. feature film



Novels: Items in the Exhibition

Kyokuchi No Sora

26. Kyokuchi No Sora. [Tokyo: Shinchosa, 1955].

24. The Sheltering Sky. London: John Lehmann, [1949].
First edition.

25. The Sheltering Sky. [New York]: A New Directions Book, [1949].
First American edition.

26. Kyokuchi No Sora. [Tokyo: Shinchosa, 1955].
This copy of the first Japanese edition of The Sheltering Sky is from the library of Paul Bowles. It bears the publisher's "Sample" stamp.

27. The Sheltering Sky. Bound typescript screenplay from the Warner Bros. film, dated September 1989 with pink revision pages inserted and marked "(1st Rev. 11/9/89)," 122 pp. Signed on the title page, "Paul Bowles - Tangier, 1/I/91."

28. [Script for Narrator]. Serena Canevari to Paul Bowles, typed memorandum, September 19, 1989, enclosing seven pages of filmscript with text for the Narrator, "1st Rev. 11/9/89."
First Assistant Director Canevari's memorandum notified Bowles that a car would pick him up to

record the Narrator's voice for Bernardo Bertolucci's film version of The Sheltering Sky.

29. The Sheltering Sky. The press kit for the 1990 Warner Bros. feature film directed by Bertolucci includes a summary of the film, publicity photographs, and related materials.


30. The Sheltering Sky (1990). Warner Bros. promotional poster issued for display in theaters.

31. Un Thé au Sahara. [Paris]: Éditions Denoël, 1990.
This "portrait du film" includes biographical notes on Bowles by Robert Briatte, a Bowles interview conducted by Fabio Troncarelli, a sketch of Bowles's relationship with his wife Jane by Millicent Dillon, a conversation between Paul Bowles and Debra Winger, who portrayed Kit in the film, and vivid photographic documentation.

32. Pod Oslona Nieba. Poznan: Zysk I S-Ka Wydawnictwo, [1998].
This copy of the first Polish-language edition of The Sheltering Sky is from the library of Paul Bowles.

33. Let It Come Down. London: John Lehmann, [1952].
First edition.

34. Let It Come Down. New York: Random House, [1952].
First American edition.

35. Paul Bowles' Let It Come Down. Screenplay by Gary Conklin. Bound mimeographed filmscript, [n.d.], 162 pp.

Pod Oslona Nieba

32. Pod Oslona Nieba. Poznan: Zysk I S-Ka Wydawnictwo, [1998].

This screenplay, from San Francisco-based Rah Film Productions, was never produced.

Let It Come Down screenplay

35. Paul Bowles' Let It Come Down. Screenplay by Gary Conklin.
Bound mimeographed filmscript, [n.d.], 162 pp.

36. The Spider's House. New York: Random House, [1955].
First edition.

37. The Spider's House. London: Macdonald, [1957].
First British edition.


Gesang der Insekten

42. Gesang der Insekten:
Roman
. [München]:
Goldmann Verlag, [1988].

38. Das Haus der Spinne. [München]: Goldmann Verlag, [1988].
Translated from English by F.R. Wendhousen, this German edition is from the library of Paul Bowles.

39. Up Above the World. Autograph manuscript, 1964, 42 pp.
Written in a spiral-bound notebook, the cover bears a drawing by Bowles and the heading "Notes Up Above the World."

40. Up Above the World: a Novel. New York: Simon and Schuster, [1966].
First edition.

41. Up Above the World: a Novel. London: Peter Owen, [1967].
First British edition.

42. Gesang der Insekten: Roman. [München]: Goldmann Verlag, [1988].
Translated from English by Pociao (de Hollanda). This copy of the first German edition of Up Above the World is from the library of Paul Bowles.


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