Two Serious Ladies

Two Serious Ladies

Jane Bowles / May 31, 2020

Two Serious Ladies Eccentric adventurous Christina Goering Meets the anxious but equally enterprising Mrs Copperfield at a party Two serious ladies who want to live outside of themselves they go in search of salvation

  • Title: Two Serious Ladies
  • Author: Jane Bowles
  • ISBN: 9780720611793
  • Page: 245
  • Format: Paperback
  • Eccentric, adventurous Christina Goering Meets the anxious but equally enterprising Mrs Copperfield at a party Two serious ladies who want to live outside of themselves, they go in search of salvation Mrs Copperfield visits Panama with her husband, where she finds solace among the women who live and work in its brothels while Miss Goering becomes involved with variousEccentric, adventurous Christina Goering Meets the anxious but equally enterprising Mrs Copperfield at a party Two serious ladies who want to live outside of themselves, they go in search of salvation Mrs Copperfield visits Panama with her husband, where she finds solace among the women who live and work in its brothels while Miss Goering becomes involved with various men At the end the two women meet again, each changed by her experience Mysterious, profound, anarchic and very funny, Two Serious Ladies is a daring, original work that defies analysis.

    Two Serious Ladies A Novel Jane Bowles Two Serious Ladies is the only novel by avant garde literary star and wife of legendary writer Paul Bowles a modernist cult classic, mysterious, profound, anarchic, and funny, that follows two upper class women as they descend into debauchery updated with an introduction by Claire Messud, bestselling author of The Emperor s Children and The Woman Upstairs. Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles Two Serious Ladies Jane Bowles It is a great loss to literature that due to illness, both physical and psychological, that Two Serious Ladies represents the only full length work produced by Jane Bowles. Two Serious Ladies Two Serious Ladies is a modernist novel by the American writer Jane Bowles.It follows two upper class women, Christina Goering and Frieda Copperfield, as they descend into debauchery Bowles style is often described as singular. American Dreams, Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles Jul , To hell with stockings, said Mrs Copperfield, who thought she was about to faint Let s get some beer Two Serious Ladies is a spectacular enigma of a novel It shouldn t work by Two Serious Ladies seriousladies Twitter The latest Tweets from Two Serious Ladies seriousladies Two Serious Ladies is a magazine that promotes women writers and artists Named for the short novel by Jane Bowles Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles review Books The Nov , Named by Tennessee Williams as his favourite book, Two Serious Ladies first published in is a singular achievement a modernist cult Books similar to Two Serious Ladies Find books like Two Serious Ladies from the world s largest community of readers members who liked Two Serious Ladies also liked In Youth Is Two Serious Ladies The only novel by avant garde literary star Jane Bowles, the highly influential wife of legendary writer Paul Bowles, Two Serious Ladies is a modernist cult classic, mysterious, profound, anarchic, and funny, that follows two respectable women as they descend into debauchery updated with an introduction by Claire Messud, bestselling author of The Emperor s Children and The Wo Two Serious Ladies Two Serious Ladies The Madness of Queen Jane The New Yorker Jun , The Hotel de las Palmas, in Jane Bowles s conspicuously strange novel Two Serious Ladies, is a gnatty pension where pimps and winos lie about It is here, in a

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    About "Jane Bowles"

      • Jane Bowles

        Born Jane Sydney Auer, Jane Bowles s total body of work consists of one novel, one play, and six short stories Yet John Ashbery said of her It is to be hoped that she will be recognized for what she is one of the finest modern writers of fiction in any language Tennessee Williams called her the most underrated writer of fiction in American literature During her lifetime and since her death in 1973, she has been considered a writer s writer, little known to the general public but with a loyal following of intensely devoted readers She was born in New York City on February 22, 1917, the daughter of Sidney Auer and Claire Stajer Auer Her childhood was spent in Woodmere, Long Island On her father s death in 1930, Jane and her mother moved back to Manhattan As an adolescent she developed tuberculosis of the knee Her mother took her to a sanatorium in Leysin, Switzerland, where she was put in traction for many months During this time she developed an intense love of literature and an equally intense series of obsessions and fears Upon her return to New York she began to experiment with writing a novel and with sexual adventures with men and women, though primarily with women.In 1937 she met Paul Bowles, and in the following year they were married and set off for a honeymoon in Central America, which was to be, in part, the locale of her novel Two Serious Ladies The Bowleses went on to Paris, where she started writing and at the same time visited lesbian bars The marriage remained a sexual marriage for about a year and a half, but after that Jane and Paul lived separate sexual lives After returning to New York in 1938, the Bowleses went on to Mexico, where Jane continued to work on her novel and also met Helvetia Perkins, who was to become her lover.Two Serious Ladies was published in 1943 The reviews were mostly uncomprehending Soon, Paul, who had been involved in the editing of Two Serious Ladies, began to write short stories, which were immediately published with great distinction Jane, having published a few short stories, began to work on a novel, but ran up against a serious writer s block.In 1947 Paul went to Morocco to work on The Sheltering Sky Jane followed him there the following year She continued to struggle to work, and published several short stories, including her masterpiece, Camp Cataract, and began to work seriously on her play In the Summer House In Tangier, where the Bowleses resided, Jane fell in love with a Moroccan peasant woman.In the Summer House was performed on Broadway in 1953 to mixed reviews Jane returned to Tangier and continued to try to write a novel, but her attention was primarily devoted to her love affair with Cherifa, the Moroccan woman, to affairs with other women and also to a social life in which she did a considerable amount of drinking.In 1957 she suffered a serious stroke, which affected her sight and her capacity to imagine Nevertheless, notebook after notebook attests to her still continuing struggle to try to write Her condition worsened, and after hospitalizations in England, New York and M laga, Spain, she was confined in the Clinica de Los Angeles in M laga, where she died in 1973.Yet it should be noted that despite this tragic story, her personality captivated many people She was brilliant and witty, always doing and saying the unexpected thing She was in every way as surprising as her work, one moment mystical, the next moment hilariously funny.Copyright 2003, by Millicent Dillon


    1. “I’m unhappy,” she said.“Again?” asked Mr. Copperfield. “What is there to be unhappy about now?”“ I feel so lost and so far away and so frightened.”Do we really need another unfulfilled-women-reach-breaking-point-and-self-destruct story? Don’t ask me – I happen to adore those. But this little gem from Mrs. Paul Bowles is not your cookie cutter crisis tale. Something inside these Two Serious Ladies has severely cracked and we’re along for the ride. These oddball seekers ar [...]

    2. One must allow that a certain amount of carelessness in our nature often accomplishes what the will is incapable of doingThis is a weird little book with the weirdest people I have come across. The two serious ladies are adorably weird. Adorably impulsive. They make something tap against the unopened doors. To remind that don’t we all have that eccentric ‘seriousness’ within us which we got chained and domesticated like the most docile dogs. They make something flutter within. To just go w [...]

    3. For one reason or another, the most likely one being I can't quite put my finger on what it is I'm getting from it, this book draws a number of other titles and times to my mind. The introduction mentioned Carson McCullers, I had suspicions of Flannery O'Connor, and then there's the famous husband and and the quoted (more?) famous playwright on the cover. I'm sure this has as high a chance of amounting to an indication of personal interest as it does the obsessions of today's academia, what with [...]

    4. She was suffering as much as she had ever suffered before, because she was going to do what she wanted to do. But it would not make her happy. She did not have the courage to stop from doing what she wanted to do. She knew that it would not make her happy, because only the dreams of crazy people come true. She thought that she was only interested in duplicating a dream, but in doing so she necessarily became the complete victim of a nightmare.Well, that was a rambling gallop through the litany o [...]

    5. Jane Bowles is a crazy woman, and I love crazy women. She has written a great book here, which oddly has all the lightness of Kafka when he is light, but a different kind of darkness. This book is about freedom, and desire, but not exactly of the sexual kind. More like a passion for life, or alternately, a sadness for the lack of life. It is constantly surprising and hilarious, and filled with weird and somewhat naive characters who act unconventionally but in a way that makes you think "well, w [...]

    6. "One must allow that a certain amount of carelessness in one's nature often accomplishes what the will is incapable of doing."Ah, if one could only plead Glib in real life. It would not exonerate me, but might get me to a halfway house earlier.I'm sure the cultists got much more out of this than I did but, if I didn't exactly see myself in this story, I could nevertheless follow the two main characters with something like sympathy. Harm, in fiction, only comes if the author intends it, and Jane [...]

    7. I'd read Paul Bowles long ago and vaguely knew his wife wrote but not until I heard Paul Lisicky discuss this one on Book Fight (a literary book-discussion podcast thing run/posted/performed by two grad school friends) was this one on my radar. Turns out it's a well-loved classic, deservedly so. After listening to three writers talk about it for an hour, I had some preconceptions about its apparent irregularity/unconventionality -- and I expected something crazier per the podcast. But it seemed [...]

    8. "It wasn't exactly in order to have a good time that I came out. I have more or less forced myself to, simply because I despise going out in the night-time alone and prefer not to leave my own house. However, it has come to such a point that I am forcing myself to make these little excursions." – Miss GoeringTwo Serious Ladies was an absorbing literary train wreck that I just couldn't avert my eyes from! I was reminded of why I loved the documentary series Grey Gardens and The Beales of Grey G [...]

    9. What at first seems as a sequence of peculiar acts and events, occurring without an explanation and disappearing without a trace, soon reveals its substance and connects causes with effects in a most unconventional manner. It is briefly mentioned in the book as a »dispensation from the world«, but its presence radiates through every sentence.The world as known to common people, without enough luck or money to follow every impulse to the end, is quite foreign to the two serious ladies. They pos [...]

    10. By the time I felt like I was finally getting a handle on this bitter, black-hearted little novel, it was all over. As I quickly discovered, to make the acquaintance of these titular two ladies is to be initiated into a state of perpetual disorientation; I was not, I’ll frankly admit, adequately prepared, even if Bowles’s novel frequently brought to mind the work of her contemporaries Djuna Barnes and Flannery O'Connor, two favorites of mine.All three authors have an uncanny ability to disti [...]

    11. Sorry, Doug. I've never been on a bad acid trip (or a good one either, for that matter) but this book is what I envision one to be like. I read the great reviews, even went on-line at the midway point to see what I was missing that everyone else was raving about. "Avant-guarde, modernistic, hallucinatory prose" is apparently just not my thing, although I will agree with the hallucinatory part. At the end of the mercifully short 200 pages, I still have absolutely no idea what this book was about. [...]

    12. A thoroughly strange performance. As the title implies, the story of two serious ladies, although the story itself is too far from the usual social conceptions of light and dark to be called "serious," and you might even take exception to the word "ladies," since both the women who are the center of the book seem to be running headlong away from the conventions of femininity, looking for something very strange: maybe their own wholesale descruction, or maybe just an authentic experience of livin [...]

    13. is against my entire code, but then, I have never even begun to use my code, although I judge everything by it. (p.19)Found via a list of John Waters' favorite five books, and general rave reviews from trusted GR sources. They did not lie. I think my enjoyment of this has already been summarized by my explanation in the comments section:"This is all I've read of hers, and I'm not quite done, but I think I love it. What I like, beyond the characters and the situations, is how she gives the distin [...]

    14. "It is against my entire code," says Miss Goering, "But then, I have never even begun to use my code, although I judge everything by it." She's about to change her code.Things ladies are serious about- drinking- hookers- escapeMostly that last thing in Jane Bowle's defiantly, extravagantly weird 1943 novel. Her husband (also a novelist) was bewildered by her inability to "use the hammer and the nails that were there. She had to manufacture her own hammer and all the nails." She feels like Dostoe [...]

    15. Ahhh, this is getting serious: another book about people who I didn't necessarily like, but that greatly reminded me of myself. What does this say about me? I must simply be a mess. Of course, unlike the characters, I hardly ever shack up with underage prostitutes (I mean, it's been WEEKS since the last time) so maybe I shouldn't draw umbilicals between us. Having said that I didn't necessarily like the people in this book, I should cement that I did love them as characters. I found them endeari [...]

    16. Two Serious Ladies introduces us to two characters Christina Goering, daughter of a powerful industrialist, now a well-heeled spinster, adrift and bored with her comfortable, predictable existence and Frieda Copperfield, married to a man who pursues travel and adventure, dragging his wife (who funds this insatiable desire) out of her comfort zone, to the untouristed, red-lit parts of Panama, where she finds solace and digs her heels in, at the bar/hotel of Madame Quill, befriending the young pro [...]

    17. (Jane Bowles and Cherifa in Tangier, Morocco circa 1948)A bird who tries to fly higherFlies into the blueA lady who strives to rise higherShe wears a high heel shoe…What made Mona Lisa smile?(Es una sonrisa eterna)Learn not to run when you hear it call(La cual no puedes cambiar)It is not a lullaby(Su cantar es diferente)And the call of the wild is not a difficult song(Con su tonada bestial)No, the call of the wild is not a difficult song(Con su tonada bestial)- David Byrne

    18. I must confess, I picked this novel up only because I’d recently read that the wife of Paul Bowles (a rather well-regarded twentieth-century itinerant writer and composer) was the author and was, herself, a woman of much talent but limited repute. I believe I actually saw her described as “a writer’s writer.”If so, I guess I ain’t no writer – or, at the very least, I can’t support that particular view of Jane Bowles’s work.Two Serious Ladies is, in a nutshell, bizarre – and I d [...]

    19. Two Serious Ladies: Jane Bowles. It is a great loss to literature that due to illness, both physical and psychological, that Two Serious Ladies represents the only full-length work produced by Jane Bowles. Only from this novel and a slim collection of short stories, " Everything is nice", in particular, can it be surmised what might have resulted from her long residence in Morocco and the relationships that she formed there. It can only be speculated as to what a mine and minefield such work mig [...]

    20. This book was recommended by film director John Waters. I expected something a bit out of it and was not disappointed. Jane Bowles has been associated in my mind strictly with her husband, fellow writer and beard Paul Bowles. In Two Serious Ladies, Jane has anticipated the work of Argentinian writer César Aira in creating a work that drifts from event to event seemingly without any plan.In an introduction to her work, Joy Williams wrote:There was no discernible narrative strategy. There was no [...]

    21. This novel is a delightfully deadpan examination of female friendships and how tedious it can be when men don’t listen. The protagonists are Miss Goering and Mrs Copperfield, both of whom are unsatisfied with their dull lives and therefore move to new places and consort with eccentric personages. I found both of them wonderfully honest, unaffected, and unconventional, which consistently confuses other characters, especially men. In my favourite scene, Miss Goering tries to start a conversation [...]

    22. okay, i've been trying to only write reviews of books i am reading/ have read from 'here on out', but while cold and arthritic over the space heater at work, looking at too many wilty, bruised post- thanksgiving flowers, i remembered this book, and i felt warmer inside, as though i had sipped hot saki, or taken a large drink of whiskey. the characters are incredible, their adventures fantastic. bowles' is a clever and hilarious writer. some scenes nearly incited a guffaw the only drawback is the [...]

    23. a lightning strike, a revelation. populated by persons afflicted -- the two serious ladies of its title most so -- by some hilarious strain of nutty. each too acquiring a certain kind of self-proclaimed but not entirely inaccurate sainthood. "saint" a title to use advisedly, but there is something of the seeker and holy fool about these characters. an air of privilege perfumes our ladies but their disavowal of it through the casual violation or even destruction of propriety makes it seem the tra [...]

    24. This is a deeply weird book that I adored and will probably pick up and read a few more times over the years. Jane Bowles (wife of Paul) produced only this novel, a play, and some short stories and letters, but she has a cult following that apparently included Tennessee Williams, who called this his favorite book.It just so happens that there's a passage about gin that will give you a taste of her weirdly wonderful style:"Now for a little spot of gin to chase my troubles away. There just isn't a [...]

    25. Couldn't put this one down. Two ladies who seem to make the opposite decision you would expect at any moment, given the way they think of themselves. I am fascinated by Miss Goering's sense of morality and sin, and her taste for awful people. Mrs. Copperfield's story was my favorite, though. Pacifica is easily my favorite character in the whole book. I love that, like a lot of my favorite books, there is no sense of what is going to happen, or that anything will ever come together or make sense [...]

    26. Dedication: To Paul, Mother, and HelvetiaWith a new Introduction by Francine du Plessis Graypaperbackone penny wonderunder 500 ratingswinter 2013short story- 201 pagesjust a slice of whimsydoo-lallyno plot visiblefeminist fictionOpening: Christina Goering's father was an American industrialist of German parentage and her mother was a New York lady of a very distinguished family.The two ladies are:Miss Christina GoeringMrs Freida Copperfield p 15 - You are gloriously unpredictable and you are afr [...]

    27. more prowess than paul by miles. i could recycle the following ad infinitum: "you have no imagination, she said, "none whatever! you are missing everything. where do I pay my bill?

    28. In a letter to her husband, novelist Paul Bowles, Jane Bowles writes, “Men are all on the outside, not interesting. They have no mystery. Women are profound and mysterious—and obscene.” That seems as good of a summary as any I can conjure for this book, which proved to be one of the oddest reading experiences of my life. Held it at arm's length, literally and figuratively, the whole time, but couldn't put it down. Didn't know what to make of it after finishing, but couldn't stop thinking a [...]

    29. One of the most inconsequential books ever. I can't imagine why it got such endorsements from famous people. They must have been fond of the author or something. There is virtually no connection between Mrs Copperfiled and Christina Goering, except that initially they belong to the same New York social set. Then Mrs Copperfiled reluctantly follows her husband on a trip to South America, but whereas he is adventurous, she panics all the time and quickly decides to stay put in Panama with a new gr [...]

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