Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Miller Featured On Swedish Television

This past week, a Swedish TV program featured Henry Miller during an episode that focused on pornography and censorship. The program, Babel, appears to feature arts and culture topics, which are discussed by the host and guests in between short, produced segments. Babel airs on SVT Play in Sweden—the Miller episode is currently available to view online.

The episode is in Swedish, but there are English interviews with Miller (from archive), Erica Jong and Karl Orend. My favourite parts are with Orend, giving the camera a tour of Miller’s Paris. Here’s the breakdown:

Suzanne Brøgger.
This Danish author, whose sexual writings have generated controversy, had inspired letters from Henry Miller, who wrote that she was “better than Germaine Greer or Gloria Steinem” and “not since the days of Rabelais have I read anything, by man or woman, as daring and courageous as this book by a Danish woman.” [ref.] Miller’s interactions with Brøgger have been written about in one of Roger Jackson’s small press publications, To My Danish Sheherazade: A Visit With and Correspondence From Henry Miller. (1998)

3:20. Brøgger appears in the Babel studio, beginning at 3:20 and remaining until the end, answering questions throughout. I can't really tell you what she's talking about. Archival footage of Brøgger may be found from 2:15-2:40.

Henry Miller.
The main Miller segment begins at 12:10; this includes still photos and:

12:41. A brief black and white clip from 1967, in which Miller states that sex has always been important, since the beginning of time.

15:15. A few still photos of Miller.

18:49. More 1967 film footage of Miller (with Hoki?) stating that he is not responsible for the sexual revolution; the times are simply changing.

19:34. More black and white footage of Miller, this time saying that one cannot take the world too seriously, because, if you do, you’ll kill yourself.

This frame grab is taken from 1967 film archive of Miller, as aired on the Babel program.

Karl Orend.
Miller expert/historian/writer is filmed and interviewed (in English) while walking the streets of Miller’s Paris. (I am providing only partial quotes here; watch the clips to hear full explanations).
13:33. The Orend segment begins.

13:50. Orend is outside the Café de la Liberté, where he tells of Miller coming here after meeting Anais Nin, to excitedly knock out ten more pages of Tropic of Cancer.

14:00. Orend is outside the Hotel Central, pointing out the floor on which Miller had lived.

15:20. Orend talks of Miller’s propensity to show, in his writings, the “worst elements of himself and other people.”

15:35. Orend: “Miller was not writing an autobiography. He was writing a symbolic novel.”

15:55. Orend confirms to the interviewer that Miller did indeed live the bohemian lifestyle portrayed in Tropic Of Cancer; he gives examples.

16:25. Orend walks the Villa Seurat in Paris, and stands at #18, where Miller had lived. A few words about Miller’s life here.

17:05. Orend: “Paris was the thing that allowed him to become himself. It was a combination of Paris and Anais Nin…”

19:07. Orend outside the Hotel Cronstadt, talking about Paris and Tropic of Cancer.

Erica Jong.
Author of The Devil at Large: Erica Jong on Henry Miller.

35:08. A short interview clip in her New York apartment, not talking about Miller, but about the difficulty in writing “good sex.”

Thanks to Magnus G and Roger for the tips about this airing.


Blogger Eric D. Lehman said...

Good to have you back, RC.

12:52 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since I am swedish i thought i could give some hints what Susanne Brögger is saying about henry Miller. Just some quick notes: She said that she was touched/moved by seeing him (in the clip). He was such a generous man, helped her career by sending letters to dansih publishers etc. She says that he was like "an eastern wise man". he sent her "unbelievebly generous and nice letters". she says she admired him since she was a school girl."but i skipped the sex scenes cause i found them uninteresting" "but the vitality and seraching for the human authenticity i still today find.. the ciritcism of civilization .. his running away from America.. the airconditioned nightmare, i find relevant still today"

5:12 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

one more note: Babel is a very popular literature show that airs once a week. The theme of the episode is sex/porn and literature.

5:15 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the part when the English guy says that Miller was so poor that he was loosing his teeth from malnutrition. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It makes for good copy, however, and biographers (who have a financial stake in the artist) will surely keep up the lie.

1:26 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be good if anonymous revealed his identity and why he thinks he knows so much about Miller.

Personal attacks on scholars should be conducted by people who don't need to hide and can prove what they say.

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