Saturday, October 25, 2008

Black Spring: The Basics

"Today is the third or fourth day of Spring and I am sitting at the Place Clichy in full sunshine. Today, sitting here in the sun, I tell you it doesn't matter a damn whether the world is going to the dogs or not; it doesn't matter whether the world is right or wrong, good or bad. It is--and that suffices. The world is what it is and I am what I am." Henry Miller, Black Spring, p.25.
Synopsis:
From GroveAtlantic.com: “Black Spring is vintage Miller. Continuing the subversive self-revelation begun in Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn, he sucks us along at his mad, free-associating pace as he reverberates between America and Paris, transporting us from the damp grime of his Brooklyn youth to sun-splashed French cafés and squalid Paris flats; from a winter night, pure as ammonia, to a dream where a woman’s body has the strong white aroma of sorrow. Miller writes with an incomparable hard glee, shifting effortlessly from Vergil to venereal disease, from Rabelais to Roquefort, to the beauty of a statue defaced during a carnival. He captures like no one else the blending of people and the cities they inhabit, and Black Spring coheres in a seductive technicolor swirl of Paris and New York.”

Chapters:
1. The Fourteenth Ward
2. Third or Fourth Day of Spring
3. A Saturday Afternoon
4. The Angel Is My Watermark!
5. The Tailor Shop
6. Jabberwhorl Cronstadt
7. Into The Nightlife. . .
8. Walking Up and Down in China
9. Burlesk
10. Megalopolitan Maniac

Dedications: “To Anais Nin”

Working title: Self-Portrait

Period of writing: 1933-1935

Date of final title: September 1933

Location of writing: Louveciennes;--Clichy;--Villa Seurat, Paris

First publication: June 1936 – Obelisk Press, Paris (1,000 copies)

Second publication: October 1938 – Obelisk Press, Paris (1,000 copies)

Third Publication: 1939 – Obelisk editions pirated in Shanghai.

First U.S. publication: April 4, 1963 – Grove Press, New York
Page count: 243 (Grove Press 1994)

Current publisher: Grove Press
_________________________________________________
Publication info sourced from Shifreen & Jackson, Bibliography of Primary Sources, Vol. I (1993).

15 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My favourite Miller book, the last paragraph is one of the few things I can actually read out from memory...I adore the image of defiance - you know - there is a major world coming and that's what everyone is talking about but I don't give a damn...(though technically/narrativistically I am not superkeen on the tailor shop chapter; but that's just me).

6:41 pm  
Anonymous Eric said...

I always assumed that Black Spring referred to the season. However, last time I was reading it, I thought about Jung and the sort of dark, dank spring from where the water of life comes.

That makes even more sense to me. Am I slow? Did everyone else get this the first time?

7:35 pm  
Anonymous xkay said...

great job with the blog. you may not be an expert, but you sure wrote it like one - well documented articles with a lot of references and photographic proof. i recently made an extended essay titled "Henry Miller's Paris"(speaking only about Tropic of Cancer) and now i regret i haven.t heard of your blog earlier, because i would have been way better informed. anyway, congrats and keep up the good work

12:13 pm  
Anonymous JamesD said...

Xkay,

Where is your essay published? If online, could you provide a link?

Thanks.

2:48 pm  
Anonymous xkay said...

sorry for answering so late. i.m from romania so it.s in romanian, because i did it for a class. however, it.s not that great and is more of an opinion essay so i don.t think it.s worth translating. for anything else, however, my email is xk.alex@yahoo.com

6:44 am  
Anonymous Kreg said...

Hey Eric,

On the title thing, I always figured Black Spring was another solar map reference, like the Tropics.

The Sun rises on the Tropic of Cancer at the summer solstice and then on the Tropic of Capricorn at the winter solstice. In between you have the Equator, which is where the sun rises at both the spring and autumn equinoxes. So in the title, black refers to the autumn as the time when things die and of course spring = spring ;) It's a sort of marriage of birth/death opposites. "Black Spring" may refer then essentially to the Equator and it was published between the two Tropic volumes, which would be its logical placement in the map sequence.

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Blogger Jon Horvitz said...

My favorite Miller book too.

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