BOWLES, Jane. Plain Pleasures. London: Peter Owen, 1966.
8vo., grey cloth lettered in gilt to spine; original unclipped dust jacket; pp. 184; spine ends a little pushed, particularly to head; 1.5cm of cloth on upper edge rubbed with board showing through; otherwise an exceptionally clean copy in wrapper which is a little marked and slightly creased to head and foot.
First edition. Some stories, such as the title story, Camp Cataract and A Stick of Green Candy had previously appeared in magazines such as Harper's Bazaar and Vogue. This copy is the correct first printing, with the misprint of an extra "one" p. 126, line 15.
Bowles was an American playwright and writer who, as a teenager, gravitated towards the intellectual bohemia of Greenwich Village. She began to move in artistic and literary circles, meeting Celine, E. E. Cummings, Klaus Mann and, in 1937 she met the writer and composer Paul Bowles, with whom she was to have an 'open' marriage. Despite the unconvenitionality of this arrangement, the couple remained as close partners for the majority of their adult lives, and they were unashamed of their sexuality, which marriage allowed them to express more fully. After extensive travels the couple became the centre of an expatriate literary group including Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Alan Sillitoe, and Ruth Fainlight.
Jane wrote for the majority of the time she knew Paul, but it was not until 1943 that her first novel, Two Serious Ladies was published. Though she was extremely fond of her husband, and claimed it was his influence which encouraged her to write, she remained comparively in his shadow during his career, as Paul's writings were prolific and won critical acclaim across the board. The body of Jane's work, on the other hand, consists of one novel, one play and six short stories. Since her death in 1973 she has retained a small following, and 'Camp Cataract', included in this volume, is often considered to be her masterpiece.
As her husband Paul once claimed, Jane's ability was "to see the drama that is really in front of one every minute – the drama that follows living".