Saturday, July 23, 2011

"Baptism of Solitude": A Tribute to Paul Bowles by Tanya Hurley

Thanks to Mikhail Iossell on Facebook, I caught Tanya Hurley's dramatic animation of Paul Bowles' famous recording : "Baptism of Solitude." Bowles is of course, one of the great Orientalists at its best and worst. Anyone who has read The Sheltering Sky (or at least seen the movie) knows his vision of the Moroccan Sahara represents violence, silence, and overwhelming emptiness. However, much of this borders on that idea of the violent and animal "other," which is uncomfortable for those of us with far different, if not opposite, experiences. Still, as is often the quandary, Bowles' language is so evocative and disturbing and evoked so beautifully it becomes something (if not accuracy). My favorite line: ..."Loneliness presupposes memory."

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