Saturday, November 02, 2013
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Nexus: Int'l Henry Miller Journal: Vol. 9
“Tropic Of Cancer: The Happy Nihilist”- Nobel Prize for Literature winner Mario Vargas Llosa reflects on Miller’s masterpiece, navigating around the fictions of that novel’s “Henry” character and his bohemian Paris, to find the genuine artist who presents the modern reader with a nostalgia for his ideals of utopian freedom.
“Henry Miller’s Inhuman Philosophy” - Indrek Männiste uses his Ph.D. in philosophy to consider the philosophical value of Miller’s writings. He finds Miller taking a stand against the linear trends of the Western modern era; “What Miller is trying to say, it seems, is that if we continue to think in terms of past, present and future, we will never get out of the web of history.” Miller sought to subvert “traditional time” and find resurrection through the concepts of timelessness and inhumanness.
“Henry Miller’s Tropic Of Cancer in the College Curriculum of One Happy Teacher” - James C. L. Brown recounts a Banned Book curriculum he taught at George Washington University, which began with readings of Tropic Of Cancer that triggered student debates about gender sexual double-standards.
“Henry Miller and the Possibility of Wisdom Unfulfilled” – Samuel G. Kardec identifies a Henry Miller who sought wisdom through sexual cultivation. Miller became an “expert at giving life to his revolt,” yet, possibly disillusioned with his fame, possibly manic depressive, and certainly selfish, he was never truly loved and failed to truly love in return.
“The Embodied American: The Cosmological Eye and the River Through” – Dominic Jaeckle looks to Emerson and the failure of the transcendentalist movement, to explain Miller’s position on the nature and meaning of “America,” from which he felt alienated, and the impact made upon the author by the “cultural trauma of the great depression.”
“Quiet Days in Clichy: Henry Miller’s Urban Idyll” – Eric D. Lehman cracks open his dictionaries to make a case that Quiet Days can be defined as an “urban idyll” (or pastoral): a romanticized, nostalgic portrait of a city “paradise,” written with a light-hearted, carefree voice that lyrically lingers on descriptive prose (whether food or sex).
“Time Tested: Nancy & Lawrence Durrell in Corfu” – Joanna Hodgkin, daughter of Lawrence Durrell’s first wife, artist Nancy Myers, writes about the couple in Corfu at the end of the 1930s, in this excerpt from a recent book about Nancy (built upon her unpublished memoir), Amateurs In Eden. Hodgkin describes the reactions of Henry Miller and Hans Reichel to her mother’s paintings, and goes into detail about the strains in Nancy’s marriage to Lawrence.
“Henry Miller’s Black Spring Through the Looking Glass of Jacques Lacan” – Looking to Jacques Lacan’s theories of individual subjectivity for comparison, Hamish Jackson analyzes Miller’s struggle in Black Spring to “comprehend himself and his subject-hood,” finding not answers, but instead “fragmentation and lack.”
“'How long do you intend to stay?’ Desire Meets Proscription in the Subject in Henry Miller’s ‘Via Dieppe-Newhaven’” – Ron Herian considers Miller-the-narrator (as opposed to Miller-the-man/ or the-writer) and the relationship between desire, language, proscription (law) and the subject, making an example of Miller’s “Via Dieppe-Newhaven”—a story in which Miller does not get what he wants.
“To Paris Via Montreal: June 22-23, 1969” – In another of the annual excerpts from the personal journals of Miller’s young friend, Harry Kiakis, we spend time with Henry talking about his kids, about writing, about ping-pong; we eat with him at an expensive restaurant, and drive him off to the airport; Harry and his wife will houses-it tMiller's Ocampo home for three months.
The journal also contains a John Biscello poem, a 1963 London newspaper cartoon, and “Miller Notes” about various newly-published or -discovered (paper or online) items on the subject of Henry Miller.
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Miller, Nin, and Proust’s 'Albertine disparue'
Sunday, June 17, 2012
The Tailor Shop: Between The Cracks
Above: "Hy" (condensed form for Henry) Miller listed in Trow's General Directory for Manhattan and Bronx, 1910. Henry Miller Sr. (famous Henry's tailor Dad) works at 5 W31st and lives at 1063 Decatur, Brooklyn. Source: Evendon.net.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Nexus: International Henry Miller Journal - Vol. 8
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Is This A Portrait of Henry Miller?
American painter John Nichols spent some time with the artists’ colony at Woodstock, New York, before going to Paris in 1930. There, the 31-year old painter befriended Henry Miller. That year, a bearded Miller (a temporary experiment) sat as a model for Nichols. He may have posed for other paintings, as well. Nichols left Paris in 1932, but his time there would be permanently recorded as the character Mark Swift in Tropic Of Cancer. For an overview of the relationship between Nichols and Miller, see my blog posting from a few years ago, “John Nichols and Miller’s Beard.”
It would have also been helpful if there was a more convincing resemblance to Miller in the painting itself. The pale blue eyes, and maybe the lips, are suggestive of Miller, but the hair is a complete fiction. Miller was bald in his 20s (he was around 40 when he had his portrait painted, and his beard had spots of grey). No amount of testosterone-evident beard growth could have sparked the youthful mane that we see in this Nichols' painting.
The name “Henry Miller” has been written on the back of the wooden frame, but only after “Man With Beard – John Nichols” and in different handwriting. I would need to know more about the provenance of this artwork to be able to evaluate who added this identification and when. After 40 years of painting, I imagine that Nichols' had plenty of opportunity to paint any number of bearded men. I will, however, offer some considerations to support the arguement that this could be Miller.
2. Nichols painted Miller more than once, and each a little differently. In March 1931, Miller wrote that Nichols and his wife Frances were working on “more portraits of him.” The collector from Woodstock says that he has a few other portraits from the “Man with a Beard” series, each done in a different style. This one is said to be the most “masterful” (if he has just a single bald one, that would go a long way to suggesting the model was Miller).
3. Nichols was not exactly the king of capturing likenesses. According to the collector, he owns self-portraits of Nichols that are “completely different.” In Miller’s description of Nichols’ portrait of him in Tropic of Cancer, he does mention that his head is “out of proportion” but was still a “man with a beard” (p.221).
|John Nichols, |
Standing Female Nude
There is a Nichols portrait of Miller at the UCLA Archives, although I have never seen the image. It would be fascinating to compare. Interestingly, the item mentions that it was signed by "Kate Nichols for Henry Miller.”
Anyhow, there is still an association between Nichols and Miller, and that makes Nichols a significant character in the Miller universe. Do your own research, contact the seller/auction house if you are interested. Sorry for the short notice, but the auction for this particular John Nichols “Man With Beard” painting is September 26, 2011, at Hudson Valley Auctioneers.