Friday, April 06, 2007

The Cover of 'The Cosmological Eye'

The Cosmological Eye (1939) was the first Henry Miller book published in the United States. It's a collection of previously published chapters and essays, mostly from Black Spring and Max And The White Phagocytes.

Cosmological was published by New Directions, under the eye of James Laughlin. Even though Laughlin died in 1997, the book still remains under his eye, in a sense. The surrealist artwork on the cover of the book contains an image of an eye superimposed over white clouds. The eye belongs to James Laughlin. Laughlin [seen above in the banner art] was still a Harvard student when he founded New Directions Publishing in 1936; the Cosmological Eye cover was designed by some of his ivy-league pals.

Premiere magazine film critic Glenn Kenny has made reference to this fact recently on his blog (James Laughlin's Eye). Taking his cue from the recent Laughlin scrapbook autobiography, The Way It Wasn't, Kenny passes on a bit of trivia about the cover of Cosmological Eye making it to the big screen. In Ingmar Bergman's 1949 film Thirst (US/UK title: Three Strange Loves) is a shot in which a character holds Miller's book in his hands [a still of which is seen below, as found on Kenny's posting]. Laughlin wrote to Bergman to ask him why he chose that book, but recieved no reply.

Incidentally, the actual The Cosmological Eye essay is about Miller's artist friend Hans Reichel.

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