Sunday, August 14, 2005

Miller's Paris notebooks


When I first found this on the internet last year, I was excited by the very idea of it: Henry Miller's Paris Notebooks from 1932-1936! (complete with paintings like the one shown at left). This collection of words and thoughts by Miller was up for auction in 2002 (through Pacific Book Auctions). It sold for $103, 500.

Details: 3 volumes, comprising approx. 413 leaves, typed and holograph manuscript, each signed at the front ("Property of Henry V. Miller...") 9½x6¼, half morocco & marbled boards, spines lettered in gilt.

I wish I knew whose hands it ended up in, because I'd love to pop in on him or her to read this document from front to back, examining each letter, crossed-out phrase, and book louse found withinin its covers.

Follow the top link in this posting to read the details of the notebooks' contents. Included are notes of scenes and events in Paris; lists of debts owed; letters from Anais Nin and Alfred Perles; photos of his father and Nin; a list of his 23 residences in Paris from 1930-32 (the website quotes Miller: "which doesn't take account of the places where I've `flopped' for a night"); transcriptions of notes Nin made on Tropic Of Cancer, and much more. I could not think of any original Miller document that could be of more interest to Miller enthusiasts than this. Sadly, there appears to be no access for any one of us.

The notebooks were consigned to PBA by Miller's son, Tony. I hope that the notebooks are currently in good hands, and being considered for publciation. If publication of Kurt Cobain's journals are justifiable, then surely Miller is more deserving of this treatment.

I've certainly not read everything on Miller; I'm not sure any of this material has appeared in any other works or biographies of his. The only books that appear to transcribe or re-print directly from the Paris notebooks are "Notes on 'Aaron's Rod' and Other Notes on Lawrence from the Paris Notebooks" by Seamus Cooney; and, "Anais Nin Observed" (1976), which apparently includes a letter from Nin as found in one of the notebooks.

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