Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Van Gelre's International Henry Miller Letter

The International Henry Miller Letter was a multi-page newsletter that was published from June 1961 to March 1966. It was produced in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, by its editor, Henk van Gelre.

No.1 - June 1961
Include's Miller's My Life As An Echo; "Preface for Ashikari and the Story of Shunkin"; and, Stand Still Like the Hummingbird!

No.2 - December 1961
Includes Miller's The Women in the Course of Ages; "An unpublished introduction to an unpublished book."

No. 3 - August 1962
Includes an excerpt from Miller's Time of the Assassins.

No.4 - December 1962
Includes Miller's "Introdution to Just Wild About Harry."
Include's an excerpt from Gerald Robitaille's "Cher Maitre" from The Story of Myself.

No.5 - August 1963

No.6 - April 1964
Includes Miller's "Preface to Chair et Metal"; On Reading Homer; Order and chaos chez Hans Reichel; and, More Letters to Herbert F West.

No.7 - March 1966
Includes Miller's "Introduction to Jack Bilbo's book about himself [Rebell aus heidenschaft]"; and, A Letter to John Cowper Powys.
Henk van Gelre was born November 17, 1928 in Nijmegen. He studied Theology and Political Science, worked in publishing, and was a magazine journalist on such topics as literature, philosophy and painting. He is also an expert on Nietzche and Nicolai Berdjajew.

In 1957, when van Gelre was 28, he wrote to Henry Miller, telling him about a trip he was planning to take to Paris. Henry advised that Henk meet up with another of his fans who was already in Paris, Gerald Robitaille. Henry was kind enough to send a copy of Why Abstract to van Gelre, signed "To Henk from Hank (Henry Miller), 5/15/57" (from an outdated listing on Abebooks.com). Two years later, van Gelre finally met Henry, who had returned to Paris. He describes this anecdote in his essay Gerald Robitaille, which was translated and published in Ping Pong magazine in 1998.

Van Gelre began publishing the IHML when he was 30 years old. In 1962, he wrote a book in Dutch called Henry Miller: Legende en Waarheid [Legend and Truth], which was published on Tielt/Den Haag. A year after he stopped publishing the newsletter, van Gelre had an essay ("La language de la vie") published in a Miller-dedicated issue of Syntheses magazine. In the piece, he expressed a disappointment in Miller for his "conscious distortion of facts, events and relationships from his life in Miller's so-called autobiographies." As a result, a rift developed between the men, which never appears to have resolved itself.

I found some of the preceding biography (which I had loosely translated on Babel Fish) at Henk van Gelre's website. It appears he's still alive and working.
Newsletter content information was partly collected from the Bibliography of Primary Sources v.1.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just found "Ping Pong" - looks like the world of Henry Miller is taking off again all over.

I'll say it again, RC - you've got the start of quite a book here.

5:47 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are some decent photos of issue number 1 of the Henry Miller Letter on this eBay auction.

4:38 pm  
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