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An Essay/Henry Miller

Love Verse 96, (C)l996,(C)2005 A. Alexander Volenski

Love Verse 96 is a book of analogy's and essays on various subjects;
love, nature, music, famous authors/authoress's, etc.;
an interesting piece of information and thoughts.

The following unedited excerpt from Love Verse 96.

Henry Valentine Miller (1891-1980)

When you ever meet a writer, your meeting someone who is extraordinary
in expression, and when one reads a book, there too they are meeting
that same Muse of a writer, as they read and imagine thought expression,
words, times, places, events...for in actuality...immortality is woven
in the lines and words written, and that is done as within a Muse
expression; the Muse is the writer, the writer the Muse, yes, a bond
is there, a spirited bond, which is of the Human...yes, humanity is
specially gifted with many immortal talents, and as the creative
nature unfolds, so too we see...and thusly, as I read of Henry Miller
and his books...there too I see the 'man' and also meet in a way,
the Muse, his Muse...and the Muse will not be possessed or enslaved...
the Muse is only of one...the writer and Muse are one...just as
the writer and Love are one...and this oneness cannot be duplicated,
it is free flying, and of the importance...the importance, human,
humanity, struggle, tears, joy, birth, newness, freedom.

Henry Miller and my grandfather of Russia, would be of the same
generation...and my grandfather was very kind and thoughtful to me...
and I would say...that would be one link I can focus upon to try and
understand Henry Miller, and his written message.

In France, Henry Miller had a long relationship with a very French
woman, Anais Nin, a diarist and novelist...a very expressive woman
indeed...(a quote from her) "woman does not forget she needs the
fecundator, she does not forget that everything that is born of her is
planted in her"; from The Diary; vol. 2 (1967), August 1937 entry.

Anais Nin: "...Electric flesh-arrows...traversing the body.  A rainbow
of color strikes the eyelids.  A foam of music falls over the ears..."
The Dairy; vol. 2 (1967), entry October 1937.  On pornography, "the
violence and obscenity are left unadulterated, as a manifestation
of the mystery and pain which ever accompanies the act of creation,"
preface of Tropic of Cancer (1934).

Henry Valentine Miller, born New York City, 26 December 1891...at the
age of 39 he went to Paris (1930), and lived a beatnik (bohemian)
existence...he wrote 3 erotic novels there, Tropic of Cancer (1934),
Black Spring (1936), Tropic of Capricorn (1939).  In 1940 he returned
to America and resided at Big Sur, California.  He continued writing
vivid semiphilosophical and ribald works...The Colossus of Maroussi
(1941), The Air-conditioned Nightmare (1945-47), and a trilogy, The
Rosy Crucifixion...Sexus (1949), Plexus (1953), Nexus (1960), and also
Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch (1957)...there is more...
The World of Lawrence (1980)...He also was a talented watercolorist...
he died 7 June 1980...Pacific Palisades, California.

a few quotes by Henry Miller:

"America is no place for an artist: to be an artist is to be a moral
leper, an economic misfit, a social liability.  A corn-fed hog enjoys
a better life than a creative writer, painter, or musician...  To be
a rabbit is better still," from The Air-conditioned Nightmare.

"The worst sin that can be committed against the artist is to take him
at his word, to see in his work a fulfillment instead of an horizon,"
from An Open Letter to Surrealists Everywhere...(1939).

"Hitler is no worse, nay better, in my opinion, than the other lugs.  
He makes the German mistake of being tactless, that's all," from a
letter to Lawrence Durrell...(1939), (published in The Durrell-Miller
Letters 1935, 80, 1988).

"Life, as it is called, is for most of us one long postponement,"
The Wisdom of the Heart...The Enormous Womb...(1947).

"Sin, guilt, neurosis, they are one and the same, the fruit of the
tree of knowledge," The Wisdom of the Heart...Creative Death, (1947).

"The real enemy can always be met and conquered, or won over.  Real
antagonism is based on love, a love which has not recognized itself,"
The Air-Conditioned Nightmare...Stieglitz and Marin...(1945).

"One has to be a lowbrow, a bit of a murderer, to be a politician,
ready and willing to see people sacrificed, slaughtered, for the sake
of an idea, whether a good one or a bad one," interview, Writers at
Work...2nd. series...(1963).

"It is the American vice, the democratic disease which expresses its
tyranny by reducing everything unique to the level of the herd,"
The Wisdom of the Heart...Raimu...(1947).

"...self which has a name and can be identified in public registers
in case of accident or death.  But the real self, the one who has 
taken over the reins, is almost a stranger...he is the one who is
filled with ideas; he is the one who is writing in the air," Sexus,
chapter 2...(1949).

"I didn't have to think up so much as a comma or a semicolon; it was
all given, straight from the celestial recording room.  Weary, I 
would beg for a break, an intermission, time enough, let's say, to go
to the toilet or take a breath of fresh air on the balcony...,"  Big
Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymous Bosch, A fortune in Francs, (1957).

"A book is a part of life, a manifestation of life, just as much as a
tree or a horse or a star.  It obeys its own rhythms, its own laws,
whether it be a novel, a play, or a dairy.  The deep, hidden rhythm of
life is always there that of the pulse, the heart beat..."
The Cosmological Eye...Un Etre Etoile...(1939).

closing comments:

And where does one begin to write a little about
 Henry Valentine Miller
a man very much within the open-way...a man who was censored in this
country [USA] for many years and eventually that censorship was lifted.

What did the censorship of Henry Miller's books really accomplish...
Why even have censorship, if on some future date that censorship is
lifted, and that which is in question...freely published...etc..

Presently when one looks to censorship, one finds it everywhere even
today, such a curious control system the Censor.  Censorship in many
ways can be viewed as a kind of 'time-block', you know, 'hold
something back until the establishment can re-group and get control
of it'...especially the money system...I mean...look around;
permission and censorship is very active...and in a decade, that
which is censored today will be freely shown everywhere...and why
is this...has anyone taken a look in that direction?

However, let's get back to Mr. Miller and his books...very interesting
man and Muse, very complete in description and also in feeling, and
the woman of France...Anais Nin...I would say she had an impression
upon Mr. Miller, a very deep and sensually active impression, and from
it many things were manifested through his written material of that

Yes, love and sensuality, passion and the vitality and vitalism of the
harmonic feeling...warmth between a man and woman...such a desire and
fulfilling accomplishment the passions of making love can be...and 
this was written of by Henry Miller for the majority of his life in
this century.

I would say...if one were to read in complete detail, the material
written during the 1930's while Henry Miller was living in France
and enjoying the companionship of Anais Nin, if one were to read her
material too, ah yes, the hidden sensual delight would surely be there
within the line and threads of them both...but how to translate...and
that (translation) is always a question.

Translation, like understanding, brings us to the beginning paragraph
about the writer and the Muse within the writer; all writers whether
man or woman...have an immortal Muse of humanity.  And that Muse is
ever and always present when one reads and also opens to the visionary,
of self through that which is written...a created written visionary
within the medium of words, art, or musical composition, that
visionary ability of the human is always present, if one does only
take the perception and truly perceive...

...In closing, I would think that one must become more aware of the
Muse within the writer, and attempt to realize this open and natural
human quality which all are born with.

                                           This page created April 98