University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

Christopher Sawyer-Lauçanno
Papers Related to
Paul Bowles

1946- 1989
(bulk dates 1985-1989)

Manuscript Collection Number: 165
Accessioned: Purchase, October, 1989.
Extent: 2.3 linear ft.
Content: Correspondence, photographs, audio cassette tapes, interviews, research notes, programs, contracts, typescript drafts, page proofs, sheet music.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: 1991 by Anita A. Wellner.

for reference assistance email Special Collections
or contact:

Table of Contents

Biographical Note

Christopher Sawyer-Lauçanno
Writer and educator Christopher Sawyer-Lauçanno was born January 4, 1951, in San Mateo, California. After attending Southwestern College, Chula Vista, California, from 1968 to 1970, he received a B.A. degree from the University of California in 1971. Later he received both M.A. (1975) and Ph.D. (1983) degrees from Brandeis University.

Sawyer-Lauçanno's professional career has included performing field research for Human Factors, Inc. (1973-1974), teaching foreign languages at Brandeis University (1974-1977), and teaching English as a second language at Dean Junior College (1977-1980) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1982- ). He also was a staff writer for Time-Life Educational Systems Co. in Tokyo, Japan (1980-1982), as well as a free-lance technical translator.

Best known for his biography of Paul Bowles, An Invisible Spectator (1990), Sawyer-Lauçanno has also written numerous texts on learning or teaching the English language. His translations include the work of Federico Garcia Lorca and Chilam Balam, as well as his most recent publication, Rafael Alberti's Concerning the Angels (1995). He has also written The Continual Pilgrimage: American Writers in Paris, 1945-1950 (1992) and contributed poetry, articles, and translations to a wide variety of periodicals, including Nexus, American Poetry Review, and Translation.

Paul Bowles
The American composer and author Paul Frederic Bowles was born in New York City on December 30, 1910. Bowles was published at age seventeen, abandoned college, and in 1929 began his life of travels with a trip to Paris, where he hoped to establish himself as a poet. Back in New York in 1930, he studied composition with Aaron Copland, whom he also accompanied to Yaddo, Paris, Berlin, and Tangier. With the support of Copland and Virgil Thomson, Bowles found work in New York writing incidental music and scores for ballet and theater. His successful career as a composer took off in the Depression with work for the Federal Theater Project (including music for Orson Welles's Horse Eats Hat) and the Federal Music Project. Bowles became one of the preeminent composers of American theater music, producing works for William Saroyan, Tennessee Williams, and others. In the last decade, a resurgence of interest in Bowles's music has culminated in a number of major concerts and performances in the United States and Europe. In addition, a new generation of musicians has released several well-received recordings of Bowles's compositions.

In 1938, Paul Bowles married the aspiring writer Jane Auer, who shortly achieved critical acclaim for her first novel, Two Serious Ladies (1943). Inspired by Jane Bowles's success and her dedication to writing, Bowles began his own career as an author, eventually surpassing his already successful reputation as a composer. Since the 1940s, he has produced numerous works of fiction, essays, travel writing, poems, autobiographical pieces, and other works. Among Bowles's best-known fictional works are the novels The Sheltering Sky (1949), Let It Come Down (1952), The Spider's House (1955); and an early short story collection, The Delicate Prey and Other Stories (1950). A 1989 reprint of The Sheltering Sky and Bernardo Bertolucci's 1990 film version of the novel, starring Debra Winger and John Malkovich, revived international interest in Bowles, the writer.

Bowles is equally known as a prolific translator. He bestowed the title "No Exit" upon Jean-Paul Sartre's Huis Clos and his 1946 translation of that play remains the standard version for English language productions. During the 1940s, Bowles translated the poems and stories of a wide variety of European and Latin American authors. Bowles taped and transcribed from the Moghrebi tales by Mohammed Mrabet and several other Moroccan story tellers; and his translations have broadened readership of Guatemalan author Rodrigo Rey Rosa. Bowles has translated several works related to North African culture and geography, and has generously introduced and prefaced photographic collections, travel writing, and stories by other authors who share those interests.

Paul and Jane Bowles spent much of their married life traveling throughout the world and in the late 1940s made Tangier, Morocco, their permanent home. Major figures in the world of letters and the arts and international "society" frequently visited them there. Jane Bowles died in 1973, and 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-Lauçanno, Christopher. An Invisible Spectator: A Biography of Paul Bowles. New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1989.

Scope and Content Note

The Christopher Sawyer-Lauçanno Papers Related to Paul Bowles, spanning the dates 1946-1989 (bulk 1985-1989), consist of 2.3 linear feet of research material gathered by Sawyer-Lauçanno for his biography of Paul Bowles, An Invisible Spectator. The papers include Sawyer-Lauçanno's correspondence with Paul Bowles, his editor, and friends of Paul Bowles. In his letters to Sawyer-Lauçanno, Paul Bowles discussed his lack of enthusiasm for An Invisible Spectator, as well as mentioned his travels and daily activities.

Also present in the papers are letters from some of Bowles's friends written to Sawyer-Lauçanno. There are letters from Bruce Morrissette, Buffie Johnson, Virgil Thomson, Gore Vidal, Edward Field, Edouard Roditi, and Ned Rorem. Many of the senders are commenting on their relationship to Paul Bowles and/or on the life or writing of Paul Bowles.

Additionally, the papers include photographs of Bowles and others; audio cassette tapes of interviews with Bowles and his friends; transcripts and research notes; material related to the "Festival Manca," which featured music composed by Bowles; as well as contracts, drafts, and page proofs related to An Invisible Spectator.

An inscribed copy of sheet music for "Letter to Freddy," for which Bowles composed the music and Gertrude Stein wrote the words, is also part of the collection.

Bound page proofs and copies of the editions published by Bloomsbury and Weidenfeld & Nicolson have been removed and cataloged for the printed collection of Special Collections.

Related collections:

Ms 110 Pagany Archive

Ms 163 Paul Bowles Papers

Ms 164 Paul Bowles Collection

Ms 323 Paul Bowles letters to William Saroyan

Ms 324 Paul Bowles letters to John Martin

Unprocessed Peter Owen Limited Archive

Contents List

Box -- Folder -- Contents

1         Series I.  Correspondence, 1984-1989
          Series I.1.  Paul Bowles' letters to Sawyer-Lauçanno, 1985-1989

     F1   Letters, 1985-1987
          1985      Apr 26    TLS       1p
               Jun 6          TLS       1p
          1986      Feb 3          TLS       1p
               Mar 1          TLS       1p
               Mar 30    TLS       1p
               Jun 20         ALS       1p
               Jun 20         TNS       1p
               Aug 2          TLS       1p
               Dec 19    TLS       1p
          1987      Apr 13    TLS       1p
               Jul 3          TLS       1p

     F2   Letters, 1988-1989
          1988      Jan 15         TLS       1p
               Jan 30         TLS       1p
               Feb 29         TLS       1p
               Apr 12    TLS       1p
               Apr 25    TLS       1p
               May 10    ALS       1p
               Jun 2          TLS       1p
               Aug 4          TLS       1p
               Oct 11         TLS       1p
               Dec 13    TLS       1p
          1989      Jun 1          TLS       1p
          Series I.2.  Chistopher Sawyer-Lauçanno's letters to Paul Bowles

     F3   Letters
          1985      Apr 15    TL (x)         1p
               May 16    TLS (x)   1p
               May 18    TLS (x)   1p
          1986      Jan 22         TL (x)         1p
               Feb 13         TLS (x)   2p
               Mar 17    TLS (x)   2p
               Jul 21         TL (x)         1p
               Aug 20    TLS (x)   1p
               Dec 8          TLS (x)   2p
          1987      Mar 22    TL (x)         2p
               Jun 16         TL (x)         2p
               Jul 20         TL (x)         1p
               Dec 9          TL (x)         2p
          1988      Feb 8          TL (x)         3p
               Feb 16         TL (x)         1p
               Mar 21    TL (x)         1p
               Apr 12    TL (x)         2p
               May 3          TL (x)         2p
               May 26    TL (x)         1p
               Jul 12         TL (x)         1p
          1989      Jun 13         TL (x)         1p 

1         Series I.3.  Correspondence between Sawyer-Lauçanno and his editor or
               Bowles' friends, 1984-1989

     F4   Roslyn Targ (literary agent) to Sawyer-Lauçanno
          1986      Feb 28         TLS       1p

     F5   Sawyer-Lauçanno correspondence with Mark Polizzotti (editor, Weidenfeld and
               Nicolson), 1986-1988

               Sawyer-Lauçanno to Polizzotti
          1986      Jan 23         TLS (x)   1p
          1988      Jul 4          TL (x)         1p
               Note:  Includes list (2p).
               Polizzotti to Sawyer-Lauçanno
          1986      Jan 20         TLS       2p
               Feb 3          TLS       1p
               Feb 4          TLS       1p
               Feb 27         TLS       1p
          1987      May 19    TLS       3p
               Jun 6          TLS       1p
          1988      Jun 30         TLS       1p
               Note: Includes copies of a reader's report and a letter from Liz Calder
               (Bloomsbury) to Polizzotti.
          [1988     Nov 1]    List of Captions    3p  

     F6   Felicity Mason letter to Sawyer-Lauçanno
          1987      Jan [29]  Ts (x)         4p
               Note: Bears autograph note.

     F7   Bruce Morrissette to Sawyer-Lauçanno
          1986      Nov 1          TLS       1p
          1989      May 9          ACS       1p
                       Jul 11         ALS       1p

     F8   Bob Sharrard to Sawyer-Lauçanno
          [1987     Nov 28]   TLS       1p

     F9   Kenward Elmslie to Sawyer-Lauçanno
          1989      Jun  10   TLS       1p

     F10  Buffie Johnson to Sawyer-Lauçanno
          1986      Jan 28         TLS       1p
          1989      May 16    ALS       1p

     F11  Ronald Caltabiano (assistant to Aaron Copland) to Sawyer-Lauçanno
          1986 Jan 30         TLS       1p

     F12  Virgil Thomson to Sawyer-Lauçanno
          1986      Jan 27         TLS       1p
          1988      Sep 29         TLS       1p

     F13  Gore Vidal to Sawyer-Lauçanno
          [1986     Mar 10]   ALS       2p

     F14  Edward Field to Sawyer-Lauçanno
          1988      Nov 2          TLS       1p
               Nov 19    TLS       1p
          1989      Feb 17         TLS       1p
               Mar       Ts (x)         1p
               Note:  Alfred Chester Newsletter #2.
               Jun 1          TLS       1p
               Aug 21    ALS       1p
               Aug 29    ANS       1p
               [n.d.]              ANS       1p

     F15  Edouard Roditi to Sawyer-Lauçanno
          [1987     May 13]   ALS       1p
          1987      May 23    TLS       2p
               May [23]  TLS       1p
               Note:  Enclosed with previous item.
          [1987] Jun 9        ALS       2p
          1987      Oct 26         ALS       2p
               Nov 30    ALS       1p
          [1987?]        AL        1p
               Note:  Letter is incomplete.

     F16  Ned Rorem to Sawyer-Lauçanno
          1984      Mar 27    ACS       1p
          1986      Feb 18         TLS       1p
          [1987     Oct 27]   ANS       1p
               Note:  Written on a printed item.
          1988      Jan 24         TLS       1p
               Oct 24         TLS       2p
               Nov 2          TLS       1p
               Nov 20    ACS       1p
               Dec 3          ACS       1p
          1989      Jul 29         ACS       1p
               Aug 27    TLS       1p

     F17  Bradford Morrow to Sawyer-Lauçanno
            1986      Oct 17         TLS       1p
            [1988] Dec 5        ALS       1p

            Series II.  Photographs,
                      Consists of 24 photographs.
     F18  Includes two photographs of Sawyer-Lauçanno, six photographs of artwork by
          Paul Bowles, one photograph of Jane Bowles, one photographs of Bowles'
          apartment building in Tangier, and 14 photographs of Paul Bowles (some include
          friends).  Most of the photographs appear in An Invisible Spectator.

2         Series III.  Interviews and Research Material
          Consists of audio cassette tapes and transcripts of interviews with Paul Bowles
          and his associates, as well as Sawyer-Lauçanno's research material. The cassette
          tapes are unfoldered.

          Audio cassette tapes
     1985 Jul 7     Interview with Paul Bowles, 2 tapes
     1986 Mar 6     Interview with Virgil Thomson, 1 tape
     1987 Nov 3     Interview with Virgil Thomson, 1 tape
     1987 Apr 30    Interview with Edouard Roditi, 2 tapes
     1987 Apr 28    Interview with William Burroughs, 1 tape
     [n.d.]         Interview with Buffie Johnson, 1 tape

     F19  Notes taken from the Gertrude Stein-Virgil Thomson letters at Yale, [n.d.]

     F20  Transcripts of interviews with Buffy Johnson, Virgil Thomson, Edouard Roditi,
          and Harry Dunham, [1986-1987]

     F21  Quotes from Bowles' interview, [1985]

     F22  Notes from Bruce Morrissette interview, [1987]
     F23  Notes from Bowles' letters to Morrissette, [n.d.]

     F24  Notes and computer diskette of research materials, [n.d.] 

     F25  Festival Manca, 1988 April
          Includes correspondence, cassette tape and a program for the 1988 "Festival
          Manca." On April 2 the festival featured "La Musique de Paul Bowles."   Includes
          a biographical sketch of Bowles, an audio cassette of "La Musique de Paul
          Bowles," correspondence among Bowles, Sawyer-Lauçanno, and Michel Redolfi
          (director of the festival), plus program and notes.  There are three photocopies of
          letters from Bowles to Michel Redolfi (1988 Feb 29, May 7, Jun 1).

      Series IV.  Proposals and contracts for An Invisible Spectator, 1986-1987
               In his proposal, Sawyer-Lauçanno's describes the content of the book and
               includes the chapter entitled "Tea in Tangier."  Also included here are
               contracts between Sawyer-Lauçanno and his publishers.

     F26  Sawyer-Lauçanno's contract with Weidenfeld & Nicolson,  1986 Aug 18

     F27  Sawyer-Lauçanno's contract with Bloomsbury Publishing Ltd., 1987 May 13

     F28  Autograph draft of chapter entitled "Tea in Tangier," [n.d.]

     F29  Book proposal, [n.d.]
          Description of the book's content and intention, as well as a copy of "Tea in

3         Series V.  Drafts of An Invisible Spectator, 1988-1989

     F30  Autograph draft with photocopies insertions, [n.d.]

     F31  Computer diskettes of a draft, [n.d.]
          6 diskettes.

     F32  Photocopied typescript draft of Part I: The Invented Cosmos, [n.d.]

     F33  "Final Draft," [n.d.]
     -38  Photocopied typescript removed from a box labeled "Final Draft."  887 pp.

     F33  Preliminary material and pages 1-129
     F34  Pages 130-283

4    F35  Pages 284-432
     F36  Pages 433-587
     F37  Pages 58-722
     F38  Pages 723-859, plus bibliography, coda, notes, and author's biographical note

5    F39  Setting copy, 1988-1989
     -46  Photocopied typescript draft used as the setting copy, which bears autograph
          corrections, editor's corrections, and printer's notations.  Also includes   inserted
          pages, layout instructions and a printed list of job specifications.  942 pp.

     F39  Layout and job specifications
     F40  Preliminary material
     F41  Pages 3-129
     F42  Pages 130-283
     F43  Pages 284-432

6    F44  Pages 433-561
     F45  Pages 562-722
     F46  Pages 723-860

7         Series VI.  Page Proofs of An Invisible Spectator, 1988
               Consists of copies of various page proofs for both the Bloomsbury and the
               Weidenfeld & Nicolson editions.  Note: Bound page proofs of both
               editions of An Invisible Spectator were removed and are available in the
               printed collections of Special Collections.

     F47  Miscellaneous pages from the author's set of page proofs, 1988 Dec 20
          Proofs bear autograph corrections and were for the Weidenfeld & Nicolson
          edition.  77 pp.

     F48  Author's page proofs, 1988 Oct 20-21
     -52  Complete set with some autograph corrections, for the Weidenfeld & Nicolson
          edition.  508 pp.

     F48  Preliminary material and chapters 1-6
     F49  Chapters 7-14
     F50  Chapters 15-23
     F51  Chapters 24-30
     F52  Bibliography, notes, and author's biographical note

          Series VII.  Published material, 1946-1989
               Note:  The published editions of An Invisible Spectator were removed and
               are available in the printed collections of Special Collections.

     F53  Sheet music for "Letter to Freddy," 1946
          Words for this song were written by Gertrude Stein and music was composed by
          Paul Bowles.  The copy is inscribed by Paul Bowles and dated January 13, 1978.

Back to the UD Special Collections Home Page

+ Return to List of Manuscript Finding Aids by Title

This page is maintained by Special Collections
Last modified: 07/28/11
  • UD Library Special Collections  •   181 South College Avenue  •   Newark, DE 19717-5267  •   USA
    Phone: USA +1 302-831-2229  •   ©2014