Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Annotated Nexus - Page 10

10.0
Henry accepts Mona's denial that he had just seen her with the wrestler. The possibility that he may be wrong is chalked up to the fact that he'd been drinking champagne; but, he sarcastically adds that he must have just seen her "astral body."

10.1 I just had a long talk with one of the interns
Miller claims to have just returned from seeing one of the interns at the mental hostital Stasia is staying at. He assures Mona that Stasia is OK, due to the talk with the interns. The hospital she is staying at is never identified, but it would have been within distance of public transit in New York City. From what I can tell, the largest psychiatric centre in NYC (and the world) at the time was the Manhattan State Hospital (now the Manhattan Psychiatric Center). The hospital was run by the NY State Dept of Mental Hygiene and was located on Ward's Island. [NOTE: In Ferguson's Henry Miller: A Life, p.135, he states that Jean was committed to the Bellevue mental hospital, but I don't know the source of this assersion].

10.2 Charlotte Russe
Henry claims to have brought some charlotte russe to Stasia during the visit. Charlotte Russe is a molded sponge and custard cake surrounded by ladyfingers. There's some significance in the fact that he chose this dessert, as "russe" is Russian in French (and Stasia is portrayed as being Russian). It seems to be a joke, though. Mona suggests he's exhausted and should go to bed.

10.3 Mona: "I just left Statsia. I got here about three hours ago."
Countering Henry's claim, Mona suggests that she had just seen Stasia and returned three hours ago. On page 9, it claims that this conversation occurs at 6 AM [9.17]. It seems odd to me that a mental hospital would allow visitors as late as 1 or 2 AM, when I assume Mona left. Not sure if she's lying as well. Mona says she has a long story to tell about the visit, but Henry surprises her by sticking to his lie that he'd just seen her and already heard the story. They then retire to bed, at which time Mona laughs to herself. An admission that they're both lying to one another?

10.4 As a good night fillip I whispered...
A "fillip" (I did not know) is a flick of the finger and apparently the origin of the term "flip the bird." Bascially, Henry is getting in a last word, a final volley in their battle of "truths."

10.5 Bertha Filigree of Lake Titicaca
Miller repeats the mockery of Stasia's importance as expressed on page 8 [8.25].

10.6 Spengler
The German historian and philosopher Oswald Spengler (1880-1936) is referenced by Miller throughout his life and appears to have been a great influence on him (especially Decline Of The West). Here, Miller starts a new paragraph, stating that he would usually find himself "musing about ancient cultures" after reading Spengler, but that "often" he would instead find himself in bed "fully clothed," trying to sort out the lies of Mona and Stasia.

10.7 Elie Faure
Another favourite author (1873-1937) of Henry's, referenced often. The same from the above entry applies here.

10.8 Stasia acquired the habit of lying to please Mona
Half this page explores the subject of Truth as it loosely exists with Stasia and Mona. Although Henry describes Stasia as "an essentially truthful soul," he blames the infleunce of the pseudo-lesbian relationship she shares with Mona as being the cause of her tendancy to lie (though not as bad as Mona, with whom it's always a "lie out of the whole cloth.")

When confronted with the lie, Miller explains, Mona "throw[s] a hysterical fit or stalk[s] out of a room on stilts;" Stasia gives a broad, angelic smile. When Henry feels he's getting somewhere with Stasia, Mona "whisks her off."

10.9 being a Romanoff bastard
Henry continues to defend Stasia (he's actually very kind to her in Nexus; Mona/June less so, except in moments of renewed love), stating that, even when Stasia lies, there's usually a grain of truth. Here, it's the fact that she's in some way related to the Imperial Russian family of Romanovs. He never defines the connection, but, considering the family is related to 24 other noble Russian families, it doesn't seem so outrageous a claim.

This Romanoff connection is mentioned a few times in Crazy Cock (in which Stasia--Jean Kronski--is characterized as "Vanya.") "'She's a Russian, then?' She was not only a Russian, he learned, but she was a princess, a Romanoff, a bastard Romanoff. So that's how it was! Not only a genius, but a princess to boot." (Crazy Cock, p.84).

The final lines on page 10 lead into page 11: a description of the conversations that Henry, Mona and Stasia have had about their childhoods.

<--- Previous Page 9 ----> Next Pages 11 & 12