Read Henry Miller on Writing by Henry Miller Free Online
Book Title: Henry Miller on Writing|
The author of the book: Henry Miller
Date of issue: February 1st 1964
ISBN 13: 9780811201124
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 680 KB
Edition: New Directions Publishing
Read full description of the books Henry Miller on Writing:Henry Miller is one intrepid soul. For me this reading entailed discerning the echoes of the interior of a soul of a brother, a kindred spirit. He articulates creative impulses forged from the smithy of his own rough experience through years of rejection in America and poverty in Paris. Like so many other genius writers Miller was willing to give up every material comfort and to suffer in dire poverty for the sake of his art. He left America to live and suffer in Paris in search of his own artistic voice. You have to admire an artist who is willing to put everything on the line, including his own survival, in order to give all to his art. Having read most of his long masterpieces, it's clear from this reading that he recognizes only one kind of activity -- creation. "I had observed that those who were most in life, who were molding life, who were life itself, ate little, slept little, owned little or nothing." He is ardently engaged in an existential quest through which his writing is the vehicle of the journey. "In the mind-world ideas are the indestructible elements which form the jeweled constellations of the interior life." Miller is fully prepared to make every sacrifice for his art and finds that the risks and rewards justify it. "Everyone who lifts himself above the activities of the daily round does so not only in the hope of enlarging his field of experience, or even to enrich it, but of quickening it. Accept this view, and the distinction between failure and success is nil. And this is what every great artist comes to learn en route -- that the process in which he is involved has to do with another dimension of life, that by identifying with this process he augments life... He has to make himself a part of the mystery, live in it as well as with it." He says that he had two beginnings in America and Europe. In his first year in Paris "I literally died, was literally annihilated -- and resurrected as a new man." When Miller ultimately struggled at the outset after imitating other writers whom he admired, he comes to find that what he needed most desperately was his own voice to express his grief and abandonment and that is how he came to write. "Finally I came to a dead end which few men have known... to fail as a writer meant to fail as a man. And I failed... It was at this point in the midst of the dead Sargasso Sea, so to speak, that I really began to write... I began from scratch, throwing everything overboard. Immediately I heard my own voice I was enchanted: the fact that it was a separate distinct, unique voice sustained me... My life itself became a work of art. I had found a voice, I was whole again." As a writer he finds that "I am obliged to adapt myself to a struggle in a realm wherein I see nothing to sustain me but my own powers... Like every man I am my own worst enemy, but unlike most men I know too that I am my own savior." Heady stuff. He adds that "the more I wrote the more I became a human being. Miller seems to see the writer as a Dionysian figure. "Side by side with the human race there runs another race of beings, the inhuman ones, the race of the artists who, goaded by unknown impulses, take the lifeless mass of humanity and by the fever and ferment with which they imbue it turn this soggy dough into bread and the bread into wine and the wine into song." Nietzsche would approve. He views himself as the "madman who dances with lightning in his hands." After writing for seven years in America without once having a manuscript accepted and begging, borrowing and stealing to get by, finally he left the country. I have written this before and shall repeat it here: America treats her hacks like literary lions and her literary lions worse than dogs. Eventually Miller's devotion to his art pays off handsomely and his art becomes victor not only over his abject poverty but also even over death. "You have the dream for night time and the horse laugh for day time." Once he finds his own voice in his journey to find the meaning of his own existence, the writing becomes automatic. "I take down the dictation, as it were. If there are flaws and contradictions, they iron themselves out eventually. If I am wrong today, I am right tomorrow. Writing is not a game played according to the rules. Writing is a compulsive and delectable thing. Writing is its own reward." He sees his own writing as constituting a man telling the inexhaustible story of his own life. "With the endless burrowing a certitude develops which is greater than faith or belief. I become more and more indifferent to my fate as writer, and more and more certain of my destiny as man." Of course, he was persecuted and prosecuted for obscenity like James Joyce. On this subject Miller writes: "This is a mad world; man is most of the time mad; and I believe that in a way what we call morality is merely a form of madness, which happens to be a working adaptation to existing circumstances." And then he hits squarely upon his position as an artist working within the body of a human being: "That sex is a vital part of life goes without question... The gamut of human passion is almost without limits, reaching heights and depths unthinkable. Precisely because it embraces such extremes, passion is the very touchstone of our humanity, and perhaps our divinity also." If you desire a brief but deep dive into the life of one of America's real genius novelists, then I can't recommend this book more highly. If you write, then this book is must reading as it will take you years to discover first-hand by your art what Miller shares of his own lifetime of experience and his career as a novelist.
Read information about the authorHenry Miller sought to reestablish the freedom to live without the conventional restraints of civilization. His books are potpourris of sexual description, quasi-philosophical speculation, reflection on literature and society, surrealistic imaginings, and autobiographical incident.
After living in Paris in the 1930s, he returned to the United States and settled in Big Sur, Calif. Miller's first two works, Tropic of Cancer (Paris, 1934) and Tropic of Capricorn (Paris, 1939), were denied publication in the U.S. until the early 1960s because of alleged obscenity. The Colossus of Maroussi (1941), a travel book of modern Greece, is considered by some critics his best work. His other writings include the Rosy Crucifixion Trilogy — Sexus (1949), Plexus (1953), and Nexus (1960). In 1976 Norman Mailer edited a selection of Miller's writings, Genius and Lust.
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