Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Booster - Dec 1937/Jan 1938

Every internet reference I've found suggests that this issue of The Booster (No. 10-11) combines the months of December and January 1937/38. Perhaps, with the funding considerably thinner, Miller and company decided to go bi-monthly?

This issue of The Booster is usually refered to as the "Air Conditioned Womb" issue. As with all previous issues, I need to state that I've never actually seen a copy of this, except for the cover [see below] which credits the contents to "The Womb Sextette." The following info has been gleaned from internet and published biographical sources (and is therefore incomplete).

Page 3 - The Paper Womb by Anais Nin. This prose poem was later re-named The Labyrinth, which was re-printed in the Nin anthology Under A Glass Bell (1944). "I was eleven years old when I walked into the labyrinth of my diary..." (read a tiny bit about it in the introduction to Anais Nin, Fictionality And Femininity at Amazon). Incidentally, Nin disliked The Booster project.

Page 14 - Down The Styx in an Air Conditioned Canoe by Lawrence Durrell. This 3-page story was later incarnated as Down The Styx (published first in French in 1964, then in English in 1971). Jeffrey Thomas Books describes the story as "a luscious prose poem in which a respectable old lady is advised on what to expect during her journey to oblivion and rebirth." The original written document apparently lies in Box #6 (item 13) of the Lawrence Durrell Papers collection at Southern Illinois University.

Page 20 - The Enormous Womb by Henry Miller.

"We think of the child unborn as living in a state of bliss; we think of death as an escape from life's ills ... there are people alive and moving about who live in what is called a state of bliss ... Wherein are their lives different then from that of the ordinary run of mankind? To my way of thinking the difference lies in their attitude towards the world, lies in the supreme fact that they have accepted the world as a womb, not a tomb."

The Enormous Womb is Henry Miller's wake-up call to humanity to enjoy the here-and-now existence of life. "Whoever does not realize what a wonderful world it is, tant pis for him." This piece was re-printed in The Wisdom Of The Heart (1941).

Page ?? - The Time Before by William Saroyan. Another Saroyan contribution. I've found nothing about this story. Perhaps a weak piece of his that found no posterity. I only know it was in this issue because of this reference.

Page 25 - Henry Miller Comments On 'Le Quatour en Remajeur'. From what I can tell, this was a single promotional page for Alfred Perles' French novel. Some of he text can be found in the brief Perles bio Renegade And Writer by Douglas Stone:

"... It [Le Quatour en Remajeur] is the essence of the senses, but so subtly alchemized as to produce the illusion of atomic indestructibility. At the core of the book is an electric effluvia which revivifies the detrius of living experience."

Quite a thick layering by Miller for his good friend (and notice he maintains the 'womb' theme even in this review, by use of the imagery of "effluvium"!).

This was to be the final issue of The Booster per se (at least, a complete severence from any association with the American Golf And Counrty Club). It would continue under a new name, Delta, in April 1938.


Blogger RC said...

Thanks Bill. I've added your link to my "People Who Get Miller" column.

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