Henry Miller

Norman Mailer once said that when Henry Miller gets rolling, there is nothing like his writing: “One has to take the language back to Marlowe and Shakespeare before encountering a wealth of imagery equal in intensity.” I agree but of course in today’s fast-paced quick-gratification world, it begs the question that a wealth of imagery is prized any longer. I have bummed around the many online reading groups for more than fifteen years and it is a common complaint that an author uses too many words. What is ironic is that similar passages in other books are deemed by the same people to be poetic and beautiful writing.

Continue reading “Henry Miller”

Tropic of Capricorn

I just started reading Tropic of Capricorn for the Experimental Fiction group and I have already discovered some interesting observations on the human condition hidden behind all the pornography (just kidding, there’s more pornography on a cable television program than in Henry Miller’s writing, and even then it is integral to the narrative so maybe it’s just honest and not really pornography).

I’m not sure if these quotations stir my 21st century mind or if they whip me back to the 1960s when we experimented with ideas, tried out new drugs, and marched up the 405 shouting Freedom Under Clark Kerr. Here are a few sections from early on in Tropic of Capricorn.

“The earth is one great sentient being, a planet saturated through and through with man, a live planet expressing itself falteringly and stutteringly; it is not the home of the white race or the black race or the yellow race or the lost blue race, but the home of man and all men are equal before God and will have their chance, if not now them a million years hence.”

“Who has the last say? Man! The earth is his because he is the earth, its fire, its water, its air, its mineral and vegetable matter, its spirit which is cosmic, which is imperishable, which is the spirit of all the planets, which transforms itself through him, through endless signs and symbols, through endless manifestations.”

“I didn’t dare to think of anything them except the “facts.” To get beneath the facts I would have had to be an artist, and one doesn’t become an artist overnight. … One can’t make a new heaven and earth with “facts.” There are no “facts”—there is only the fact that man, every man everywhere in the world, is on his way to ordination. Some men take the long route and some take the short route. Every man is working out his destiny in his own way and nobody can be of help except by being kind, generous and patient.”

I invite you to pop in at the Henry Miller Memorial Library Blog.