Sunday, September 24, 2006

Excerpts From 'Colossus Of Maroussi'

On the website Halieis: Echoes of an Excavation in Greece, are four excerpts from Henry Miller's account of his time in Greece, Colossus Of Maroussi.

Here's one of them:
"Mornings I would often walk to the Acropolis. I like the base of the Acropolis better than the Acropolis itself. I like the tumble-down shacks, the confusion, the erosion, the anarchic character of the landscape. The archaeologists have ruined the place; they have laid waste big tracts of land in order to uncover a mess of ancient relics which will be hidden away in museums. The whole base of the Acropolis resembles more and more a volcanic crater in which the loving hands of the archaeologists have laid out cemeteries of art. The tourist comes and looks down at these ruins, these scientifically created lava beds, with a moist eye. The live Greek walks about unnoticed or else is regarded as an interloper. Meanwhile the new city of Athens covers almost the entire valley, is groping its way up the flanks of the surrounding mountains."

The other three excerpts are longer: On disembarking from boats; On dining in Herakleion, having arrived in Crete by aeroplane; On a miserable stopover in Porto Cheli.

On another blog, you can read an excerpt from Colossus in which Miller characterizes the English in Greece. (excerpt of the excerpt: "The Englishman in Greece is a farce and an eye-sore: he isn't worth the dirt between a poor Greek's toes.")

Click here to read another brief snipet from the book [scroll down], one which includes the line "Everything here speaks now, as it did centuries ago, of illumination, of blinding, joyous illumination."

A young guy named Steven has transcribed a Colossus passage about peace on his MySpace page ("The peace of the heart is positive and invincible, demanding no conditions, requiring no protection.")

And then there's the rare Anton Wurth art book Dipsy Doodle (1992), which includes text from Colossus translated into German to accompany his Miro-style artwork.

As mentioned in previous postings, you may also listen to Henry himself read from Colossus Of Maroussi on UbuWeb.

Finally, it seems only right that I include my own excerpt from the book:

"During all the years that I have been writing I have steeled myself to the idea that I would not really be accepted, at least to my own countrymen, until after my death. Many times, in writing, I have looked over my own shoulder from beyond the grave, more alive to the reaction of those to come than to those of my contemporaries. A good part of my life has, in a way, been lived in the future. With regard to all that vitally concerns me I am really a dead man, alive only to a very few who, like myself, could not wait for the world to catch up with them. I do not say this out of pride or vanity, but with humilty not untouched by sadness.

"Sadness is perhaps hardly the right word either, since I neither regret the course I have followed nor desire things to be any different. I know now what the world is like and knowing I accept it, both the good and the evil. To live creatively, I have discovered, means to live more and more unselfishly, to live more and more into the world, identifying oneself with it and thus influencing it at the core, so to speak."
[Henry Miller, The Colossus Of Maroussi (NDP75), p. 206]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You provide a lovely service, sharing this book, Colossus of Maroussi by Henry Miller. It is very possibly his best work. Thank you.
Noel V. Bourasaw
editor, Skagit River Journal

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