Saturday, July 25, 2009

Henry Miller Illustrated

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed several books from the Introducing and For Beginners series published by Icon Books (UK; in the US as Totem Books). The series uses illustration and collage art and a concise information style to briefly but evocatively explain the concepts, ideas, science, philosophy, and social movements of our human history, and to tell the stories of the complex individuals behind them. Writers have had their due in this series, but I had never seen an edition on Henry Miller.

In 2001, an Argentinean publisher, Longseller, in association with Paidós, released Spanish-language translations of this Icon Books series, under the name Para Principiantes (For Beginners) [Paidós calls it Para Todos (For Everyone)]. One such edition was an illustrated life of Henry Miller. Due probably to the explicit sexual depictions in the book, it fell under the Para Principiantes line (as it was certainly not “for everyone.”)

Henry Miller: Para Principiantes is written by Pedro Ghergo (apparently a writer of children’s books). Accompanying his text are illustrations by an artist named Lato [I couldn't find a website for his work]. The drawings are fairly simple, and the young Henry is drawn in a generic way (and with too much hair and big square glasses). But it’s still interesting to see a visual interpretation of a story I know well.

About half of this book is viewable online, using the Google Books feature. The Amazon website states that the book is no longer in print, but the Longseller website seems to suggest it is.

Above: Argentinean artist Lato illustrates the scene in which Miller is about to meet June Mansfield at Wilson's. Image © Longseller, 2001.