Herny Miller spoken recordings
September 17, 2011 8:59 AM   Subscribe

Henry Miller was a prolific and influential writer, and possibly one of the most written about American writers of the 20th century. [no less than 92 posts on MF about Henry Miller] He was also an admired painter [previously] and all around well traveled cat. Opinions of Henry Miller the author and the man, are many and varied, but one thing is certain, he is a darned entertaining fellow.
Ubuweb.com [previous ubu citings] has recently added three recordings of conversations with Henry made in the period 1957-1964. These join two previously available albums of him reading from his own works, and expounding his views in his lucid and amusing Brooklyn accent.
posted by Abinadab (11 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Kenneth Rexroth:
Although Miller writes a lot about his kinship with D. H. Lawrence, he has very little of Lawrence’s abiding sense of the erotic couple, of man and woman as the two equal parts of a polarity which takes up all of life. This again is Brooklyn, pre-suffragette Brooklyn. And I must admit that it is true, at least for almost everybody. A real wedding of equals, a truly sacramental marriage in which every bit of both personalities, and all the world with them, is transmuted and glorified, may exist; in fact, some people may have a sort of talent for it; but it certainly isn’t very common. And the Great Lie, the social hoax in which we live, has taken the vision of this transcendent state and turned it into its cheapest hoax and its most powerful lie. I don’t see why Miller should be blamed if he has never found it. Hardly anybody ever does, and those who do usually lose it in some sordid fashion. This, of course, is the point, the message, if you want a message, of all his encounters in parks and telephone booths and brothels. Better this than the lie. Better the flesh than the World and the Devil. And this is why these passages are not pornographic, but comic like King Lear and tragic like Don Quixote.
posted by Trurl at 9:09 AM on September 17, 2011

I wasn't familiar with his work until I read Tropic of Cancer earlier this year. I can certainly see why some people hate it, but I couldn't put it down. You can tell he had a complete blast writing it.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:18 AM on September 17, 2011

Loved Henry Miller when I was a teen. His tales of becoming FREE! in Paris resonated strongly within me, eager as I was to get out of my hometown and, you know, become myself.

So, if you'll indulge me here just a little, I'm going to post a song I wrote a few months ago, about three artists who have had some influence on me in one way or another... and one of them is ol' Henry. It may help to 'hear' it right if you keep in mind it should be delivered as a 'talking blues', a la Woody Guthrie/early Bob Dylan.


me and henry miller were out one night
drinking some wine we were feeling allright
down by the river just watching it flow
when along came edgar allen poe

he said "fellows can i have a little taste of your wine?
i've already drunk up the last of mine"
henry said "ed we'd be happy to share
why don't you just sit yourself down right there"

well the wine was gone before too long
and henry said "samm won't you sing us a song"
I was 'bout to do a version of old joe clark
when edgar allen said "hey it's getting dark"

i said "wait a minute, poe, the night's still young"
and i handed him a jew's harp henry had brung
i said "pluck on this and i'll sing you a tune
by the light of the silvery harvest moon"

well my song was only 'bout halfway sung
when along came crosby stills nash and young
henry said "neil, you're welcome to stay
but the rest of you fellows can be on your way"

so it was me and henry and edgar and neil
but neil slipped on a banana peel
then he fell into the river and i thought maybe
t'was the very same river where he shot his baby

well we all jumped in to save neil's ass
got him up on the bank, laid him on the grass
the four of us were sitting there soaking wet
but that ain't the end of the story yet

cause then who should come along but marilyn monroe
said she was looking for a man named poe
me and henry and neil cried "hey, wait a minute
if this is your dream we all wanna be in it"

but edgar and marilyn left pretty quick
henry looked like he was gonna get sick
neil said "i'm cold" and he started to shiver
that's when i decided to jump into the river

and so the river carried me from town to town
and i occasionally put my feet on the ground
but i'm mostly just happy to float to the sea
if you see me floating by please wave to me!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:26 AM on September 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

Marilyn Monroe didn't marry Henry Miller.

"The uploader has not made this video available in your country."

posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:34 AM on September 17, 2011

note: not an actual cat
posted by rebent at 9:37 AM on September 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

He was also an admired painter

That's like saying Michael Jordan was an admired baseball player. Or how Keanu Reeves was renowned for the work he did with his band, Dogstar.
posted by chronkite at 10:26 AM on September 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Chaos is the score upon which reality is written.-Henry Miller

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.-H. P. Lovecraft, "The Call of Cthulhu"

How the universe conspired to keep these two from ever meeting is a damn shame. Tropic of Fthagn would have been an awesome story.
posted by Renoroc at 10:28 AM on September 17, 2011 [3 favorites]

I loved Henry Miller's writing when I was young. In the winter of 1971, I lived in a snow-covered cabin in Norway, re-reading his 2 trilogies. I sent him a fan letter, telling him how much his writing meant to me. Obviously, he never answered.
posted by growabrain at 11:53 AM on September 17, 2011

I don't know about his writing, but I love that Aeron Chair of his.
posted by bpm140 at 12:28 PM on September 17, 2011

[no less than 92 posts on MF about Henry Miller]

Yeah, but this is the first one about "Herny" Miller.
posted by pracowity at 7:23 AM on September 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

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