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Paul Bowles (Hardcover)

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In this interpretive biography of Paul Bowles, one of the most intriguing American expatriate writers and composers, Gena Dagel Caponi concentrates on defining Bowles's place in twentieth-century American culture. By exploring the motivations behind his life and work and examining the intricate connections between his emotional life and his literary, musical, and autobiographical creations, Caponi illuminates both Bowles's psychological development and the relationship between his personal idiosyncrasies and the intellectual currents of his time. Caponi draws upon extensive correspondence and interviews not only with Bowles himself but also with Ned Rorem, Gore Vidal, Aaron Copland, Christopher Isherwood, and Virgil Thomson to provide new insights into Bowles's work and his relationships with his wife, Jane; his editor at Random House, David McDowell; his London editors, John Lehmann and Peter Owen; and friends Charles Henri Ford, Ahmed Yacoubi, and Mohammed Mrabet. Through his work, Caponi shows, Bowles contributes as well as responds to such movements as modernism, antimodernism, mysticism, surrealism, and existentialism. His unique combination of nineteenth-century romanticism and twentieth-century existentialism allows him, in both his literature and his music, to focus on a major theme - the plight of the individual who is alienated from his or her culture and feels less than alive. Caponi notes how Bowles's work articulates various states of being along the continuum of existential insecurity, and she examines his negative romanticism, his fascination with primitive landscapes, and his belief that the imagination is perfect without intervention and corruption from civilization andits institutions. The author of The Sheltering Sky, one of the very few fully realized expressions of American existentialism, has lived the philosophy he writes about. Only a book that analyzes Bowles's emotional life in conjunction with his cultural and intellectual reality will be able to explain the complexities of his work. This is such a book. Gena Dagel Caponi teaches cultural and intellectual history and is the acting director of American Studies at the University of Texas, San Antonio.


Publisher Gale / Cengage Learning
Mfg Part# 9780805745603
SKU 202594220
Format Hardcover
ISBN10 0805745602
Release Date 8/13/2012
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