Miller Characterized in 1934 Novel by Calmer
"There is another book, by a friend of mine named Edgar Calmer (a Virginia fellow) who calls me Irving Brace in his book Always Summer [sic], which is being published by Harcourt Brace & Co. He has me killed at the end of the book--run down by a taxi while in an ecstatic mood. (Not to mention that he plagirized a few paragraphs from T. of C.--which I thought a good joke, particularly because he didn't think I noticed them.)"
Ned Calmer (photo left, circa 1950) was part of the real-life clan of Yank ex-pats working for the Chicago Tribune in Paris in the early 1930's, which included Henry Miller, Alfred Perles, Wambly Blad and many others. He had known Henry for at least three years by the time he based that character on him. In Miller's letter, he refers to the book as Always Summer, but it was copyrighted on March 29, 1934 as Beyond The Street and published by Harcourt Brace that same year under that title. When the book was re-published in 1961, it was re-titled All The Summer Days. I am making the assumption that these are the same works under different titles, because the timeline seems to suggest it.
This is the part of the post where it would make sense that I quote the passages about Miller/Brace (funny that Henry was named after the publisher, alluding to Calmer's awareness, I assume, of Henry's heavy desire to be published). Unfortunately, I don't own the book, and it's obscure enough that the reference libraries in my major city don't hold it. If you have a copy, please be a pal and post a comment with a quote or two. (perhaps I should just shell out $20 or so and order a used copy from somewhere).
This bit of trivia about Miller/Brace is mentioned in all the Miller bios I have, but just in passing. Mary Dearborn's Happiest Man Alive goes the furthest in detailing the relationship between Miller and Calmer. She quotes several letters Miller sent to Calmer, but I couldn't identify the source of this letter collection.
Ned Calmer and his wife were part of Henry's infamous list of people to scrounge meals off of in 1931. Henry showed Ned his manuscript for Crazy Cock, but Ned wasn't impressed. Ned showed Henry something that he had written, and was told he was (to quote Dearborn) "in danger of becoming a prig" and that he should (to quote Miller) "chew a little dirt." There are a few personal references to Calmer in A Literate Passion as well.
Ned Calmer was born in Chiacgo in 1907. He began his Paris journalist gig in 1927 and became a traveling foreign correpsondant shortly afterwards. Beyond The Street (which appears to be an extremely rare book) was his first novel. He later went into broadcast journalism, first in radio as an assistant to Edward R Murrow in 1940. He famously announced the beginning of the D-Day invasion on CBS in 1944 (this may or may not be him, but here's part of that day's broadcast in MP3). In the early 1950's, Calmer wrote the WWII novel Strange Land, analyzed here in 1958 [PDF file].
Calmer hosted several radio and television programs, and wrote books about the early days of TV journalism, including Anchorman (1970) and Late Show (1974). He holds notoriety in the history of TV as well: As the headline anchor for the CBS morning show Good Morning in 1956, he witnessed a horse shit on camera during a staged introduction, to which he commented into a live microphone and over the air, "Good God, what a fuck up!"
Calmer died in 1986 (New York Time obituary).