You Are Not I: A Portrait of Paul Bowles

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9780520224933: You Are Not I: A Portrait of Paul Bowles

The famously enigmatic writer-composer Paul Bowles is the subject of Millicent Dillon's unforgettable new book. Her portrait of the chameleonlike artist is much more than an account of Bowles's life, however. It is also a meditation on biography that questions the biographer's role, the subject's credibility, and the very nature of "truth" in the telling of a life.

Millicent Dillon first met Paul Bowles in Tangier in 1977, when she was writing a biography of his wife, the author Jane Bowles, who died in 1973. Dillon returned to Morocco in 1992 to work with Bowles on a book about his own life. In Bowles's book-lined apartment often crowded with visitors, Dillon observes the magnetism the aging artist exerts on anyone who comes into his circle. Bowles talks of his difficult childhood and of his grief over Jane's long illness, of exile, dreams, and madness. He is charming and evasive with Dillon, generous and devious. As the book unfolds, Dillon's own reflections and concerns surface alongside details of Bowles's daily life, his physical condition, his interactions with others. Her portrait of the artist is seen simultaneously with her construction of that portrait, and in a kind of literary legerdemain we are able to observe Dillon on the biographical canvas along with Bowles and his deceased wife.

Author of the international bestseller The Sheltering Sky and numerous other works, as well as an acclaimed composer, Paul Bowles has had an immensely rich creative life. Millicent Dillon seems to have been destined to write this unconventional biography of the artist, and the result is wonderful, disturbing, and strangely compelling, like Paul Bowles himself.

Les informations fournies dans la section « Synopsis » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

Review :

At the center of Millicent Dillon's provocatively titled You Are Not I burns a mystery. The ever elusive Paul Bowles indirectly captured Dillon's attention. When in Tangier, Morocco, at work on her biography of Jane Bowles (A Little Original Sin, 1981), she was told repeatedly by friends of the Bowles that she bore an uncanny physical resemblance to Jane. For Dillon, this burgeoned into a compulsion, which she found "...unsettling, as if I am overstepping a line, violating that most rudimentary law of biography--not to confuse oneself with one's subject." Alas, in spite of the strong declaration implicit in the biography's title, one is made uncomfortably aware of the author's wavering boundaries. "To be a biographer," Dillon confesses, "meant that I was in the grip of an obsession."

Rejecting chronology as the chief organizing element of her biography, Dillon interweaves the "facts"--mundane and extraordinary--of Bowles's life with both of her Moroccan journeys (the Jane project of 1977; the Paul project of '91), constructing his portrait through their conversations and her subsequent reflections. Such a prismatic approach indeed celebrates Bowles's obliquity as a subject. But then, Millicent Dillon is herself "...in search of a different kind of knowing--one that is consonant with secrecy, one that ... is more akin to the knowing one has of a character in a work of fiction." That unique teasing out of the truth makes You Are Not I an exploration of the form, biography, itself.

Bowles was born on Long Island. As a child he leaned toward musical composition and short story writing. In young adulthood, he would study with Aaron Copland, and later, mingle in Paris with the likes of Gertrude Stein, who advised him to journey to Morocco with Copland to work on music. He married Jane (in 1938); she had had affairs with women only; he'd had bisexual attachments. Paul continued his involvement with avant-garde music; Jane struggled with her novel, Two Serious Ladies. As he helped her, his old love of fiction was triggered, and in 1949, he published The Sheltering Sky, which became an international bestseller. After Jane Bowles's death, Paul's work life receded. It would be Bertolucci's film of The Sheltering Sky (1987) that delivered Bowles back into the public eye.

By risking subjectivity, placing herself firmly in the "process" of biography, Dillon becomes unwilling to make absolute statements about her subject. An annoying cacophony ensues--of impressions, of contradictory and elliptical conversations, the contents of which refuse to be assigned significance. But it's not entirely annoying, for the utter foreignness of Bowles's world flashes through. Along with the accounts of the continuous smoking of cannabis and cigarettes, we're given vivid glimpses of a uniquely bohemian life, carved out of exile.You Are Not I has everything--the romance of the far away; on- the-scene reporting of a place at once sensuous and creepy. It's a guide for those intrigued both with the form of biography and with the life of the writer who would come to fear going out in public; who needed to smoke kif (cannabis) to relieve his almost continuous anxiety; who "abhorred directness." And it is nothing less than a quest to solve some fundamental mystery about the self, as if Millicent Dillon got entangled in a Paul Bowles story and is compelled by the force of the narrative events to ride them through to there exhilarating, perhaps fatal, finish.

From the Inside Flap :

"Less a biography than a meditation on the curious nature of biography and on the even more curious nature of Paul Bowles. Brilliantly done, and intensely interesting."—Alice Adams

"[I love the Paul Bowles biography.] A seriously innovative biography about a fascinating literary figure, an exotic locale, the haunting ghost of Jane Bowles, and an endearing and important biographer. Any of these ingredients would be enough to recommend it; altogether, a brilliant book."—Diane Johnson

"I am impressed by the honesty, lucidity, and maturity in every sentence. This stunning pas de deux by two wary, relentlessly intelligent people is a delicious reading experience."—Phillip Lopate, author of Portrait of my Body and Art of the Personal Essay

"Millicent Dillon brilliantly manages to turn her difficulties with the notorious elusiveness of Paul Bowles, and of Tangiers, into the most revealing account ever given of his personality and his achievements. It's a fascinating, exhilirating book."—Richard Poirier

Les informations fournies dans la section « A propos du livre » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

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Description du livre University of California Press, United States, 2000. Paperback. État : New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The famously enigmatic writer-composer Paul Bowles is the subject of Millicent Dillon s unforgettable new book. Her portrait of the chameleonlike artist is much more than an account of Bowles life, however. It is also a meditation on biography that questions the biographer s role, the subject s credibility, and the very nature of truth in the telling of a life. Millicent Dillon first met Paul Bowles in Tangier in 1977, when she was writing a biography of his wife, the author Jane Bowles, who died in 1973. Dillon returned to Morocco in 1992 to work with Bowles on a book about his own life. In Bowles book-lined apartment often crowded with visitors, Dillon observes the magnetism the aging artist exerts on anyone who comes into his circle. Bowles talks of his difficult childhood and of his grief over Jane s long illness, of exile, dreams, and madness. He is charming and evasive with Dillon, generous and devious. As the book unfolds, Dillon s own reflections and concerns surface alongside details of Bowles daily life, his physical condition, his interactions with others. Her portrait of the artist is seen simultaneously with her construction of that portrait, and in a kind of literary legerdemain we are able to observe Dillon on the biographical canvas along with Bowles and his deceased wife. Author of the international bestseller The Sheltering Sky and numerous other works, as well as an acclaimed composer, Paul Bowles has had an immensely rich creative life. Millicent Dillon seems to have been destined to write this unconventional biography of the artist, and the result is wonderful, disturbing, and strangely compelling, like Paul Bowles himself. N° de réf. du libraire AAH9780520224933

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Millicent Dillon
Edité par University of California Press, United States (2000)
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Description du livre University of California Press, United States, 2000. Paperback. État : New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The famously enigmatic writer-composer Paul Bowles is the subject of Millicent Dillon s unforgettable new book. Her portrait of the chameleonlike artist is much more than an account of Bowles life, however. It is also a meditation on biography that questions the biographer s role, the subject s credibility, and the very nature of truth in the telling of a life. Millicent Dillon first met Paul Bowles in Tangier in 1977, when she was writing a biography of his wife, the author Jane Bowles, who died in 1973. Dillon returned to Morocco in 1992 to work with Bowles on a book about his own life. In Bowles book-lined apartment often crowded with visitors, Dillon observes the magnetism the aging artist exerts on anyone who comes into his circle. Bowles talks of his difficult childhood and of his grief over Jane s long illness, of exile, dreams, and madness. He is charming and evasive with Dillon, generous and devious. As the book unfolds, Dillon s own reflections and concerns surface alongside details of Bowles daily life, his physical condition, his interactions with others.Her portrait of the artist is seen simultaneously with her construction of that portrait, and in a kind of literary legerdemain we are able to observe Dillon on the biographical canvas along with Bowles and his deceased wife. Author of the international bestseller The Sheltering Sky and numerous other works, as well as an acclaimed composer, Paul Bowles has had an immensely rich creative life. Millicent Dillon seems to have been destined to write this unconventional biography of the artist, and the result is wonderful, disturbing, and strangely compelling, like Paul Bowles himself. N° de réf. du libraire AAH9780520224933

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Description du livre University of California Press. Paperback. État : new. BRAND NEW, You are Not I: A Portrait of Paul Bowles, Millicent Dillon, The famously enigmatic writer-composer Paul Bowles is the subject of Millicent Dillon's unforgettable new book. Her portrait of the chameleonlike artist is much more than an account of Bowles' life, however. It is also a meditation on biography that questions the biographer's role, the subject's credibility, and the very nature of 'truth' in the telling of a life. Millicent Dillon first met Paul Bowles in Tangier in 1977, when she was writing a biography of his wife, the author Jane Bowles, who died in 1973. Dillon returned to Morocco in 1992 to work with Bowles on a book about his own life. In Bowles' book-lined apartment often crowded with visitors, Dillon observes the magnetism the aging artist exerts on anyone who comes into his circle. Bowles talks of his difficult childhood and of his grief over Jane's long illness, of exile, dreams, and madness. He is charming and evasive with Dillon, generous and devious. As the book unfolds, Dillon's own reflections and concerns surface alongside details of Bowles' daily life, his physical condition, his interactions with others. Her portrait of the artist is seen simultaneously with her construction of that portrait, and in a kind of literary legerdemain we are able to observe Dillon on the biographical canvas along with Bowles and his deceased wife. Author of the international bestseller "The Sheltering Sky" and numerous other works, as well as an acclaimed composer, Paul Bowles has had an immensely rich creative life. Millicent Dillon seems to have been destined to write this unconventional biography of the artist, and the result is wonderful, disturbing, and strangely compelling, like Paul Bowles himself. N° de réf. du libraire B9780520224933

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