The Delicate Prey and Other Stories

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The Delicate Prey and Other Stories is a 1950 published collection of short stories by the American writer Paul Bowles (1910-1999).

Publication history

The Delicate Prey and Other Stories is Bowle's first collection of short stories, but most of the stories had previously appeared in more or less obscure avant-garde magazines. In 1950 the collection was published by Random House , and in 1952 in a paperback edition by Signet , of which around 200,000 copies were sold. In Great Britain, the collection was first published in 1950 by John Lehmann under the title A Little Stone . The eponymous short story The Delicate Prey and Pages from Cold Point were missing in this issue; Cyril Connolly and William Somerset Maugham had advised Lehmann against publication, as they would probably be collected by the censors or at least would not meet the public's taste in any case; in Great Britain the complete collection did not appear until 1968.

Themes and motifs

Bowles dedicated the volume to his mother, who was the first to read Edgar Allan Poe's short stories to him at a young age . Many of Bowle's stories can also be classified as horror stories and are characterized by extreme violence, in particular the cruel mutilations in The Delicate Prey and A Distant Episode are notorious . The action is usually set in tropical South America or the Maghreb Sahara (Bowles lived in Tangier, Morocco, from 1947 ).

Another defining theme is the rather blunt portrayal of homosexuality in several stories (like The Echo ). It was this topic that made Maugham and Connolly fear even more than the violence that the band would be censored or banned in Great Britain, especially since it also occurs in connection with sexual violence (in The Delicate Prey ) or incest ( Pages from Cold Point ) .


The anthology contains the following stories:

  • At Paso Rojo , German "In the Paso Rojo"
  • Pastor Dowe at Tacaté , German "Pastor Dowe in Tacaté"
  • Call at Corazón , German "stopover in Corazón"
  • Under the Sky , dt. "Under the Sky"
  • Señor Ong and Señor Ha , German "Señor Ong and Señor Ha"
  • The Circular Valley , dt. "The round valley"
  • The Echo , German "The Echo"
  • The Scorpion , dt. "The Scorpion"
  • The Fourth Day out from Santa Cruz , German "Four day trips from Santa Cruz"
  • Pages from Cold Point , dt. "Blätter aus Cold Point"
  • You Are Not I , dt. "You are not me"
  • How Many Midnights "How often at midnight"
  • A Thousand Days to Mokhtar , German "A thousand days for Mokhtar"
  • Tea on the Mountain , dt. "Tea on the Mountain"
  • By the Water , dt. "At the water"
  • The Delicate Prey , dt. "The easy prey"
  • A Distant Episode "A distant episode"


  • Paul Bowles: The Delicate Prey and Other Stories . Random House, New York 1950.
  • Paul Bowles: The Delicate Prey and Other Stories . In: Paul Bowles: Collected Stories and Later Writings . Library of America , New York 2002. ISBN 978-1-93108220-4

Secondary literature

Individual evidence

  1. Christopher Sawyer-Lauçanno: An Invisible Spectator: A Biography of Paul Bowles . Grove Press, New York 1989. pp. 279-280.