This is a follow-up to my posting from Dec. 15, 2005
, regarding artist Hilaire Hiler's impressions of Henry Miller, as described by him in the International Henry Miller Letter from August 1963
.WHAT TALKING TO MILLER WAS LIKE
Hiler: "Henry is that great rarity; an excellent listener. He can not only listen but by his bodily attitude, the little h'ms and 'ums of agreement or interrogation with which he intersperses his listening, he keeps the talker aware that close attention is being paid to his utterances. Thus he draws people out. He can then see and stress their remarkable, exceptional, fantastic or hateful qualities or weaknesses. Because of his work-a-day and Brooklyn early background it's possible that things seemed remarkable to him by contrast which might appear less so to others with other antecedents. I have the lating impression that he talked much less than he listened. He probably felt little need to talk as he got most of his ideas off his chest by his constant and copious writing."
MILLER'S PHILOSOPHICAL SHORTCOMINGS
Hiler: "When he talked philosophy, as seems the case with many talented and successful writers, the impression is a different one. His philosophical ideas seem much less interesting. They were confused and colored with emotion and subjective rationalization. Philosophicallly our ways parted sharply and we took different roads. Henry, as a philosopher reminds me of those whom Francis Bacon described when he wrote, '......snatches from experience a variety of common instances, neither duly ascertained nor dilligently examined and weighed, and leaves all the rest to meditation and agitation of wit.'"
HILER'S PERSONALITY COMPARED TO MILLER'S
Hiler: "We had many long talks and a very copious written correspondence which kept up over most of the years, but in spite of mutual liking and mutual respect, I have the impression that our communication was always rather poor. The reason for this feeling of only partial understanding was a mystery to me at the time. Henry was certainly very articulate and I'm told that, at least for a painter, I express myself quite clearly. Now, it would seem that our difficulties may have been due to the fact that we were using what students of semiotic call different 'types of discourse.' Henry was probably using the poetic or emotive type while I was trying to be more logical, rational and expository."
The picture of Henry Miller is a frame capture from Robert Snyder's The Henry Miller Odyssey.