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Jane Bowles

Admired for her darkly comic wit by writers like Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, and John Ashbery, Jane Bowles became the center of an avant-garde circle in Morocco. Bowles injured her knee in a fall as a teenager, becoming permanently lame, and felt the handicap and her status as a Jewish lesbian made her an outsider. Her fiction often centered on issues of difference and alienation. In 1938, she married Paul Bowles, a bisexual writer and composer, and the pair supported each other both emotionally and as fellow artists. While she had a dark sense of humor in life, Bowles’s writing was usually comic in tone and spare in style, exploring issues of death and madness with a light touch. She wrote relatively little: a novel, Two Serious Ladies, in 1943; a play, In the Summer House, in the 1950s; a collection of short stories, Plain Pleasures, in 1966, and her posthumous work, Feminine Wiles, in 1976. But while her creative works may have been few in number, her writing earned critical praise both during her lifetime and after her death.

More on: Fiction, Plays
Date of Birth
February 22, 1917
Place of Birth
New York, New York
Date of Death
May 4, 1973

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jane Bowles." (Viewed on January 23, 2018) <>.


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