Paul Bowles letters to Nathalie Blondel

Biographical and Historical Notes

Paul Bowles (1910-1999)

The American composer and author Paul Frederic Bowles was born in New York City on December 30, 1910. In 1938, Paul Bowles married the aspiring writer Jane Auer. 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. After the 1940s, he produced numerous works of fiction, essays, travel writing, poems, autobiographical pieces, and other works.

Nathalie Blondel

British writer Nathalie Blondel edited the journals of writer Mary Butts and is the author of Mary Butts : scenes from the life : a biography (McPherson, c1998).

Scope and Content Note

In these twenty letters to Nathalie Blondel, written between 1987 and 1990, American author Paul Bowles provided recommendations for editorial and publication decisions concerning three of Jane Bowles’s unpublished short stories.

While conducting archival research, Blondel discovered unpublished manuscripts in Jane Bowles’s notebooks. Blondel initiated correspondence in 1987 and then visited Paul Bowles at his residence in Tangier, Morocco, to discuss her discovery. Over this three-year period, Bowles provided both editorial and publishing advice. He helped Blondel navigate the realm of competing scholars and the small press publication of Jane Bowles’s works, supported her access to Jane’s papers, and aided her in understanding Jane’s writing style. Bowles’s editorial decisions included shaping the notebooks into three separate stories, and in his final letter, Bowles thanked Blondel and said he looked forward to reading Jane’s work in Bête Noir.

This small collection is an excellent archive of literary correspondence between a major writer and an important scholar, with good editorial, biographical, and literary content.