THE MIND AND ART OF HENRY MILLER by William A. Gordon

THE MIND AND ART OF HENRY MILLER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The time has come to rescue Miller from his pornographic limbo and to fit him in some respectable literary tradition. Professor Gordon has chosen the one of European romanticism with its various subsidiaries, partly because Miller himself has pointed toward that direction in The Books in My Life and elsewhere, and partly, of course, because the category is roomy enough to accommodate so many of the writer's splendid contradictions and pseudo-philosophical rhetoric. The two Tropics and The Rosy Crucifixion are the main oeuvres studied, and these, coupled with some good biographical sketching, fill out an excellent portrait, reasonable, persuasive, sympathetic, but just; quite the best critical appraisal Miller has received. Professor Gordon is a singularly calm apologist--there is neither supercilious censure of our expatriate Priapus nor fashionable trumpeting of the ""sexual revolution."" Miller's ""auto-novels"" are seen more as self-engendering visions of liberation, drawn both from the Brooklyn and Paris experiences and the exemplary readings in Nietzsche, Whitman, Rank, and so forth. One may doubt whether Miller, apart from his wonderful style, has enough intellectual originality or creative depth to really be the sponsor of the life-enhancing values Gordon discovers in his writings. Still, a journey worth taking.

Pub Date: April 30th, 1967
Publisher: Louisiana State Univ. Press