HENRY MILLER: Full of Life by Kathryn Winslow

HENRY MILLER: Full of Life

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Throughout much of his creative life, Miller was partially--sometimes totally--supported by one or more friends. Some were rich. Others were not. Winslow, however, virtually turned the nurture of Miller into an ongoing business. She had originally met the controversial author-painter in the latter days of WW II. Broke and lost in America after eight years as an expatriate, Miller had moved into the maid's room of one of Winslow's friends. Winslow's description of Miller's life at Big Sur and the wide circle of intellectuals, creative people and oddballs is one of the better sections of this affectionate memoir. He at first struck her as ""a kindly, soft-spoken 'older' man."" At the time, Miller was completing The Air-Conditioned Nightmare, submitting ""fragments"" from previously written works to various magazines and dashing off watercolors--which he sold for $5.00 apiece. He was, however, constantly short of funds and had to rely on gifts from friends, near and far. (One pleading letter to 20 friends about his need to keep his morning coffee hot produced 17 thermos bottles.) In 1948, Window moved to Chicago and opened a bookstore/gallery, which almost exclusively marketed Miller's books, paintings and manuscripts. Its proceeds helped keep Miller in funds for 10 years. The bookstore became a local cultural mecca and a way station for out-of-town writers and artists. Miller, however, never visited it; nor did he mention Window's generosity in any of his book dedications. Winslow brackets these fascinating reminiscences with fairly well-trodden biographical details of Miller's life before and her association with him. Although these sections add little to our knowledge of the writer, they provide the necessary background material to give meaning to the Winslow-Miller connection. The end result: a well-rounded biography of Miller, replete with hitherto-unrecorded de. tails of his life in Big Sur.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1986
Publisher: Tarcher--dist. by St. Martin's