HENRY MILLER

A LIFE

Second life of Henry Miller reviewed this issue (see Mary V. Dearborn's ``The Happiest Man Alive'', above), this one longer, more richly detailed, with bigger critiques of Miller's works. As portrayed by Ferguson (Enigma: The Life of Knut Hamsun, 1987), Miller turns out to be a two-sided writer, showing himself in his autobiographical fiction to be ``the happiest man alive'' despite the depths of his lifelong suffering. A charismatic of superhuman generosity, with a great gathering of ``friends.'' Miller nonetheless drew these friends harshly in his novels, so much so that one old school friend from Brooklyn wrote his own ``honest and warm'' memoir of Miller and called him hard, unfeeling, vicious, and monstrously cruel. Dearborn and Ferguson split on whether or not Miller fathered Anais Nin's stillborn daughter (Dearborn says you can't tell, but Ferguson makes very dark assumptions). Once Tropic of Cancer was published (1934) and Miller as 45 began to become ``Henry Miller,'' he also drank more, became boisterous and boorish in mixed company in order to live up to his satyr image, and enjoyed ragging friends and stealing from them. This image also fostered his famous begging letters; he saw himself as a beggar 25 years later even after the riches flowed in f rom the Grove Press editions of his banned novels: begging showed who his friends were. Once Miller became ``Henry Miller,'' Ferguson says, ``the ability or the desire to ridicule his own pretensions was largely gone,'' and he became a guru to the Beats with a foggy grasp of cosmology and philosophy. His ``autobiographical fictions...do not profit from repeated reading. They are not like symphonies or great novels that offer more with each successive experience of them. Rather they offer less...'' Ferguson shows Miller full-tilt in violent rebellion against the puritanism and materialism of his era, deep in suffering one moment, a great prancing goat the next. The last years are quite sad.

Pub Date: May 27, 1991

ISBN: 0-393-02978-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1991

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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