Monday, December 12, 2005

Miller In A Taxi Smash-Up - New Year's Eve 1930

'Pierre from Montreal' had left a comment on my previous post regarding Henry Miller's New Year's Eve taxi accident in 1930. Comments tend to get buried, so I've decided to push his research to the foreground as the subject of its own post. Thanks Pierre.

Miller’s accident in a Paris taxi occurred on December 31, 1930. Jay Martin says this in Always Merry and Bright : "On New Year’s Eve, the last night of 1930, Henry stepped into a taxi after a party at the Coupole; the taxi driver had been partying too, and as soon as he got his vehicle to its highest speed, the cab went out of control and hurtled head-on into another car. The force of the collision was so terrific that Henry’s taxi flipped right over, the glass side window smashed to bits right beside Henry and slivers flew all about inside. Yet he wasn’t even scratched. He celebrated this New Year’s nursing a case of piles and resolving to walk a few miles every day," [p.221 in the Sheldon Press (British) edition].

Martin gives as the source of this anecdote a letter to Emil Schnellock (2-16-31,11) and this is what Henry wrote:"Nearly killed New Year's Eve in a taxi smashup. Ran full on to another car, tipped it over. The glass smashed to bits right beside me, but I got off without a scratch - only to come down with the piles. And never felt the least nervous afterwards. As though it happened on another planet. Can you beat it?" [p.75 in Letters to Emil].

It is indeed possible that Miller had mentioned this incident to Ed Calmer when he was visiting him for a free dinner, and Calmer may have transformed the story into a tragic accident in All the Summer Days, therefore getting rid once and for all of Henry Miller (Irving Brace) "run down by a taxi while in an ecstatic mood"

…Pierre from Montreal


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