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June 19, 2012

Henry Miller, American.

My people were entirely Nordic. Every wrong idea which has ever been expounded was theirs. Never once had they opened the door that leads to the soul; never once did they dream of taking a blind leap into the dark.

--Henry Miller (1891–1980), Tropic of Capricorn (Grove Press, 1961)

Even when denouncing his own European tribe, he was funny, profound and painfully on target. Born in Manhattan and of German-Catholic parents, Henry Miller, novelist and painter, lived in Paris, Big Sur, Pacific Palisades, and many places in between. An inspiration to more than a few Beat poets and writers, he was a generation older than them--and beat most of them to it. He lent an angry but richly-toned and often bawdy voice to the sentiment that Americans were too desperately conformist, sterile and flat-out afraid to seize and live real life. Despite his often tiresome overtures of extreme existential dread, Miller was, and is, way fun to read. He is hilarious, erudite, angry, authentic. And Miller writes beautifully; at his best, no one is better.

"A man with a belly full of the classics..."

Posted by JD Hull at June 19, 2012 11:59 PM


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