Thursday, June 29, 2006

Autobiographical Notes, 1943

From the "Personal Archives of Henry Miller" catalogue of auctioned items on the PBA Galleries website, is a partial transcription of autobiographical notes written by Miller in 1943. The typed letter had been written for Bern Porter, in preparation--I assume--for Porter's 1945 bibliography of Miller's work. The five pages apparently give yearly accounts of his life up to age 52 (in 1943).

Here is the excerpt provided by PBA [see Item 25]:

"1905 - Met ideal image of woman in person of Miriam Painter. 1907 - Met first love, Cora Seward, at Eastern District High School, Brooklyn" ..... early manhood ... "1923 - Wrote first book (Clipped Wings) during three weeks' vacation from Western Union duties [...]

"Began tremendous correspondence with Harolde O. Ross, musician, of Minnesota. Met June Edith Smith in Broadway Dance Palace [...] 1927 - Open speak-easy in Greenwich Village with wife June. Trip to Florida in search of a waiter's job. Job in Park Dep't. (Queens) while June is in Europe. Compile notes for complete autobiographical cycle of novels in 24 hours." [...]

"1930 - Was befriended by Richard G. Osborn and Alfred Perles. Made friends with Ossip Zadkine, John Nichols, Frank and Paula Mechau, Bertha Schrank, Brassai. 1931 - Began writing Tropic of Cancer while walking the streets and sleeping where I could: day by day existence. 1932 - Met Anais Nin in Louveciennes, France. 1933 - Took apartment with Alfred Perles in Clichy. `Black Spring' period: great fertility, great joy. Saw June for the last time.

"1934 - Tropic of Cancer published in September. Decisive moment. Had rewritten it three times; original ms. twice as big as present book. Divorced from June in Mexico City, by proxy [...]"

The autobiography ends with Henry's life in Big Sur. This Miller document sold for $400 in 1998.