Gilbert Bowen (1914-96) became a translator after a successful business career. After leaving school, already fluent in French, he became a member of the foreign sales department of John Oakey and Sons, which made abrasives. He served with distinction as an interpreter in the Second World War in France and Germany, which is where he met his wife-to-be, Charlotte. In 1987, when he was 73, his translation of Paul Éluard’s Selected Poems was published by John Calder. This was followed by translations of work by Jacques Prevert and of writers from French-speaking Africa published in magazines. His second book of Éluard translations, Unbroken Poetry II, was published by Bloodaxe shortly before his death in 1996.
Books by Gilbert Bowen