Composer, writer, translator
- No one can ever heap enough insults upon me to suit my taste. I think we all really thrive on hostility, because it's the most intense kind of massage the ego can undergo. Other people's indifference is the only horror.
- Letter to Charles Henri Ford (25 January 1948), as published in In Touch : The Letters of Paul Bowles (1995) edited by Jeffrey Miller, p. 192
The Sheltering Sky (1949)Edit
- A novel about an American couple travelling in North Africa. A film adaptation of it was made in 1990 directed by Bernardo Bertolucci.
- Many days later another caravan was passing and a man saw something on top of the highest dune there. And when they went up to see, they found Outka, Mimouna and Aicha; they were still there, lying the same way as when they had gone to sleep. And all three of the glasses... were full of sand. That was how they had their tea in the Sahara.
- Because we don't know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.
- For in order to avoid having to deal with relative values, he had long since come to deny all purpose to the phenomenon of existence — it was more expedient and comforting.
- p. 65
- So she said banteringly: "What's the unit of exchange in this different world of yours?"
He did not hesitate. "The tear."
"It isn't fair," she objected. "Some people have to work very hard for a tear. Others can have them just for thinking."
"What system of exchange is fair?" he cried, and his voice sounded as if he were really drunk. "And whoever invented the concept of fairness, anyway? Isn't everything easier if you simply get rid of the idea of justice altogether? You think the quantity of pleasure, the degree of suffering is constant among all men? It somehow comes out in the end? You think that? If it comes out even it's only because the final sum is zero."
- p. 148
- A black star appears, a point of darkness in the night sky's clarity. Point of darkness and gateway to repose. Reach out, pierce the fine fabric of the sheltering sky, take repose.
- p. 210
Let It Come Down (1952)Edit
- Africa was a big place and would offer its own suggestions
- p. 199
- For God's sake, sit down. You look like a Calvinist rector telling his flock about Hell.
- p. 231
- "We're all monsters," said Daisy with enthusiasm. "It's the Age of Monsters."
- p. 238
Up Above the World (1966)Edit
- Dr Slade went in to lunch in a state of desperate boredom tempered with resentment; it had shaken him a little to see how bad luck could be prolonged to such unlikely lengths.
- p. 23
Points in Time (1982)Edit
- Every second, ten stars set behind the black water in the west.
- p. 28
- Interviews with Paul Bowles
- "Paul Bowles, The Art of Fiction No. 67" interview by Jeffrey Bailey, in The Paris Review (Fall 1981)
- “A Distant Episode: In Tangier with Paul Bowles.” Poets & Writers Magazine. July/August 1999: 36-39.
- Clips of interviews with Bowles from the documentary Paul Bowles in Morocco
- "Paul Bowles, A Conversation with Bruce Duffie" (Bruce Duffie, May 1992)
- Paul Bowles Meets with Ken Smith and Frank J. Oteri (January 1, 1998, published on NewMusicBox December 1999)
- "Stranger on a Strange Shore" (Gaither Stewart, Critique magazine, October 2000)
- Writing and music
- Works by or about Paul Bowles in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Paul Bowles Collection at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin
- Paul Bowles Online Exhibit, University of Delaware
- Paul Bowles audio and music web published on the Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine project archive at Ubuweb
- Critiques and obituaries
- Review of "The Sheltering Sky", TIME magazine, 5 December, 1945
- Paul Bowles’ Tangier and Fez, Mohamed Elkouche (from “Paul Bowles' Tangier and Fez: The Agony of Transition from Colonial to Post-colonial Times,” in Urban Generations: Post-Colonial Cities, Mohamed V University, Rabat, 2005.
- Review of "Let It Come Down", "Critique" magazine.
- Review of "The Spider's House", New York Times, 1955
- Review of "Up Above the World", New York Times, 1966
- New York Times obituary, 19 November 1999
- Manchester Guardian obituary, 19 November 1999
- BBC World obituary, 19 November 1999
- Bowles's grave site at findagrave.com