Monday, September 12, 2005

The Case Against Sexus

"[T]here are plenty of writers who endeavor to cater to the public's taste and who, in doing so, have an eye on the market. These men I do not regard as writers. A serious dedicated writer is, in my opinion, a man who stands behind every word he puts down and who does not impose restrictions on himself for fear of incurring public disfavor. He writes because he has the urge, because he can do no other."
-- Henry Miller, 1963
in defense of Sexus (and all his works, really)

Miller completed Sexus--the first part of his Rosy Crucifixion--in 1945. It was published alone in 1949, and in the U.S. as part of the trilogy (along with Plexus and Nexus) in 1965.

Having already experienced state bans of his work, Miller became a poster boy for literary censorship. In 1953, he had to stand in a Parisian court to defend Sexus and freedom of expression.

My purpose with this post is not to write a 1000-word essay about Sexus and censorship. I just want to draw attention to an Italian website, Editizione di Passione, which has a feature on Miller's troubles with Sexus. The site is in Italian, but has some great scans of newspaper articles and correspondance regarding his battle against censorship (including his essays on freedom of speech).

I'll create posts for each available document over the next month. For now, you'll have to browse yourself. Also, Sexus is searchable by text on the Amazon site.

The graphic above, taken from the Italian site, is from a scan of the Miami Herald on March 3, 1961.


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