Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Miller-Girodias Correspondence

Yet more Millerania is up for sale by Manhattan Rare Books. I quote:

"Eleven autograph letters signed and two postcards signed; all written to Maurice Girodias. WITH: Ten typed carbon copy letters from Girodias to Miller and five copies (four in carbon) of letters from Girodias, Claude Gallimard, E.C. Brun-Munk, William Burroughs, and Frank MacShane recommending Miller for the Nobel Prize. Housed in custom slipcase and chemise. $12,500."

The website's description of this lot contains several quotes taken from these letters, circa 1973-78:

Girodias, from his letter to the Nobel Prize committee:
“that formidable example of freedom of mind and heart has given its momentum to many writers’ work, to many minds’ opening, to many changes of attitude”

Miller, to Girodias, in response:
“I don’t know how to thank you for that marvelous letter… I hope they take it to heart!”

Miller, on how to conduct his campaign for the Prize, and who else to contact:
"Make sure when you write them that they do not publicize my name!"

"Above all, Samuel Beckett and Graham Greene you should include. I didn’t know Greene read me!"

"[I have] now written over 125 people here and abroad… [and] nearly all I write are favorably inclined."

Miller, on losing the Prize:
"I can’t become ‘respectable’ even if it means losing prize."

"I was hoping to get it only for 1979. Happy my favorite writer I.S. [Isaac Singer] got it this year."

Miller, complimenting the written work of Girodias:
"Bravo! You made it, yes indeed. You have a wonderful full, sensuous et sensible touch. I can hardly believe I am reading Maurice Girodias at times. It makes me happy for you. At last you found the way, found yourself. Congratulations!!"

Miller, on his lack of financial success:
"We are always sailing close to the wind, too close for my taste—especially after all I have had published."

Miller, on his health and productivity:
"My sight is very poor now and I have to conserve it."

"I have arthritis of the hip. It’s lamed me—and always hurts like the devil. I hope I hadn’t seemed to put on any airs—of authority or what not. I have nothing to do with the elderly—I shun them."

"My spirit is OK but age is taking toll of my body. Nothing to do about it."

"I have begun to make W.C.’s [watercolors] again, since I have about written myself out."

I have previously written about Miller and the Nobel Prize.