Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Nightmare Notebook


From the same series of 1939-1942 notebooks from which The Red Notebook was compiled, came a publication in 1975 called The Nightmare Notebook (New Directions Publ.). As with the former, this book was made up of actual facsimilies of the original Miller notebooks.

A few photo samples (like the one at left) can be found on this New Directions page. (along with a one-page sample of notes from a visit Henry made to a Hollywood astrologer). A few other photos (of a signed copy sold in auction in 1998) can be seen here.

The specific notebook chosen for publication is described on the introduction page to The Nightmare Notebook: "...one of these notebooks, in a bound printer's dummy of a Doubleday edition of Walt Whitman's 'Blades Of Grass,' is reproduced here in a facsimilie as close to the original as was feasible."

In the annotated Miller bibliography of The Devil At Large, by Erica Jong, she describes the book as having "fascinating descriptions of places, people, moods, as well as watercolours by Henry."

I quote all of these people because I've never seen the book myself.

I love this handwritten summation by Miller: "Notebook of American tour begun October 24, 1940 and ended in October 1941, from and to New York City with 1932 Buick. N.B. A year wasted!" (view it on the New Directions link above).

The Nightmare Notebook was reviewed in the New York Times on September 14, 1975. You can purchase a copy of the review here (or read the opening paragraph for free). I can look this up for free on microfilm at the library; I'll comment on it here when I get around to it.

New Directions Publishing appears to have several signed copies of the limited edition of 700, going for $150. Beyond that, this seems harder to track down than The Red Notebook.

I have one more Miller notebook to comment on in my next post. Then I'll move on to something else.

15 Comments:

Anonymous nightpoet said...

I just bought a copy of the Nightmare Notebook for €250 (I probably paid too much for it but that's ok) in a bookstore in Paris. It is a signed 1975 edition. I can only say it is worth every cent. It will be re-published in April 2009 by New Directions, but of course they won't be signed. It does look as if there are still a few signed copies to be bought from New Directions for $150. Snap 'em up folks, the book is a fantastic insight into Mr. Miller's creativity...

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