Analysis of Paul Bowles’s Novels

1960s: Days of Rage

“Bowles holds a unique place in American literature. As an exile, he shared with 1920’s expatriate novelist Gertrude Stein, among others, a distanced perspective on his native culture. Through his translations, he earned an international reputation as an author with a North African sensibility. His fiction reflects a world akin to that written about by existentialists Jean-Paul Sartre or Albert Camus, and indeed he has been described as America’s foremost existentialist writer, a label more likely to restrict him to a time period than to characterize his fiction accurately. Although his nihilism does strike one as a bit pretentious, it also has a modern application, reflecting as it does a dark vision of the world as contemporary as the times demand. Bowles became a guru of sorts to the Beat generation, although Bowles’s attraction for them was as much for his writings about drugs as for his generally pessimistic…

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