Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Booster Editorial Staff: David Edgar

Names like Hans Reichel, Walter Lowenfels, and Michael Fraenkel feature more prominently in Miller's life, so I'll offer something more extensive on each of them in the future. For now, I'll look at a lesser member of the staff: David Edgar: Publicity.

Edgar appears to have been a flatmate of both Hans Reichel and Alfred Perles, on the Impasse du Rouet, not far from 18 Villa Seurat. He was a young American who was in Paris on inherited money, trying his best to be an artiste, but too neurtoic to produce much painting or writing.

Edgar is often cited as being partly responsible for re-kindling Miller's interest in spiritual matters (Conrad Moricand also gets credit). Edgar often spoke to Henry about Zen Buddhism, Rudolf Steiner, mysticism and the occult, stimulating his mind to subject matter Henry had shown interest in as a youth.

Edgar was apparently a humourless man, "secretive and anxious-looking" (ref. Lawrence Durrell: A Biography by Ian MacNiven; p. 184]

"The finest thing I can say about Edgar, "said Perles in a letter to Miller, "is that he is not a trickster like everybody else, including you and me." (ref. Henry Miller: A Life byRobert Ferguson: p. 323).

The shy and timid Edgar was at the recieving end of some creative advice from Miller, according to this archived letter from PBA Galleries. Dated 'March 13, 1937,' Henry encourages David to loosen his style: "The irony, it seemed to me last night after leaving you, is that in trying to simplify and clarify by putting it down on paper - It, the process - you open up an infinite area of confusion. The process - that is, the finding out, is nothing but wheels. You are inside the clock, and the more you find out about wheels the less you know about the clock..."

The meeting Miller refers to here is written about in Lawrence Durrell, Henry Miller: A Private Correspondence by George Wickes.

Edgar's job as "Publicity" for The Booster was likely just a means to include him in the group project. For someone so shy and humourless, the role of Publicist seems like an ironic joke. Maybe he just helped sell subscriptions, as they all had done.

In 1938, Edgar left Paris for London, as had Perles.

(Some bio info on Edgar drawn from Passionate Lives by John Tytell.)

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