Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-5959bf8d4d-67wr7 Total loading time: 0.375 Render date: 2022-12-08T07:03:12.495Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

5 - Gide and Bowles in North Africa: The Sheltering Sky

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 November 2020

Get access

Summary

IN CHAPTER 2 I EXAMINED Paul Bowles’ natural disposition toward the linked but mutually exclusive experiences of existence and consciousness during his earliest recorded moments in his autobiography, and the ways in which such impulses were reinforced by his upbringing and New England social and intellectual traditions, including a childhood reading of Emerson's Essays, and the post-Emersonian New England spiritualism and theosophy that were conveyed to him through his paternal grandmother and her siblings. In the present chapter I examine in passing indirect Emersonian influence on Bowles through Emerson's pervasive influence on Nietzsche, who in turn was an important influence on Gide, whom Bowles read and absorbed during his high school years and afterward. To recapitulate from the introduction above, when we consider the influence of Emerson on Nietzsche, “We are dealing with an intellectual and spiritual relationship that is so profound and pervasive that the word influence doesn't do justice to it” (3), which “raises the question of whether it is Emerson or his Danish contemporary, Søren Kierkegaard, who is entitled to be called ‘the first existentialist’” (9). These historical connections include a circularity of influence that, in addition to Emerson's original influence on Bowles, also leads from Emerson to Nietzsche to Gide to Bowles in an arc that takes in Western Europe and sweeps across North Africa. Such influences, affinities, and reflections become increasingly fascinating even as they become increasingly extensive and, sometimes, elusive. In the present chapter I propose to trace influences and affinities between André Gide and Paul Bowles in order to show two streams of transcendental and existential influence emanating from Emerson to Bowles to demonstrate that Bowles’ reflections of European existentialism is thoroughly “in the American grain.” Gide reflects many of the basic existential ideas of Nietzsche, who had reached a high point of popularity and influence in France around the turn of the twentieth century. The precocious Bowles read Gide in French while he was still in high school, and years later in his autobiography, he describes how during his intellectually formative youth he considered Gide as “the master.”

Type
Chapter
Information
Paul Bowles
In the American Grain
, pp. 99 - 126
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2020

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×