HENRY MILLER: LETTERS TO ANAIS NIN by Gunther- Ed. Stuhlmann

HENRY MILLER: LETTERS TO ANAIS NIN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

These letters, extending from the early '30's to the late '40's, present Miller swinging on his highly idiosyncratic bouts of euphoria and depression, telling all to his ""big ear,"" the novelist Anais Nin: the early days in Europe, the later ones in America; now machine-gun excitement over a new scene, a new insight; next the hard-luck adventure, the scrounging for bed and board. They lack the spikier intellectual and/or creative concerns of the recently published Miller-Durrell exchanges, but the canvas is considerably broader, Miller considerably less cheeky, more open, boyishly charming. Physical deprivation and bawdyhouse bohemia mixes with so-called revolutionary esthetics (""The mind doesn't help, don't you see? Gide has mind, Dostoevsky has the other thing...man placed at the very core of mystery, and by his flashes not merely illuminating things for us, but showing us the depth, the immensity of the darkness""). The trying times in Hollywood have a certain grim hilarity (Miller proves to be a real film fan, noting everything from Chaplin to a Bette Davis epic). In one letter he rather oddly refuses to accept Proust's homosexuality, offering this absurdity; ""We know, for example, that Proust married (into Bergson's family, wasn't it?)"". Essentially this is a record of struggle, of snail's pace recognition, two writers taking in each other's professional washings. In the end, Miller is an underground success, the famous ""banned"" author, while Miss Nin, having printed her own books, is taken up by Edmund Wilson. Entertaining.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1965
Publisher: Putnam