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Miller, Henry (1891-1980)
Brooklyn-born American writer. In 1924, after a checkered career of odd jobs and a lengthy stint in the personnel office of the Western Union Telegraph Company in New York, he quit his last paying job to take up writing "seriously". He was encouraged by his second wife, the former taxi girl June Smith, who, for the next six years provided their often precarious livelihood as a "hostess" or through other schemes. At her urging, Miller left for Europe in 1930. His struggle to survive Paris, homeless, penniless, and often without food, provided the raw material for his first breakthrough book, Tropic of Cancer, which finally appeared in 1934 under the Obelisk imprint when Anais Nin underwrote its publication with borrowed money. Miller met the Guilers in December 1931, and after a brief teaching interlude in Dijon which Hugo had helped to arrange, Miller returned to Paris. The literary friendship with Anais Nin, which had unleashed an avalanche of correspondance, in March 1932 turned into a fiery love affair that was to last for many years. Its details came to light only in recent years, with the publication of Henry and June: The unexpurgated diary of Anais Nin, 1931-1932. June, who had made two brief visits to Paris in 1932, divorced Miller in 1934.
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The following quotes are taking from the letters of Anais Nin and Henry Miller. The page numbers refer to the following edition:
Anais on March 2, 1932
The woman will sit eternally in the tall black armchair. I will be the one woman you will never have ... excessive living weighs down the imagination: we will not live, we will only write and talk to swell the sails.
Henry on March 4, 1932
Three minutes after you have gone. No, I can't restrain it. I tell you what you already know - I love you. It is this I destroyed over and over again. At Dijon I wrote you long passionate letters - if you had remained in Switzerland I would have sent them - but how could I send them to Louveciennes?
Anais, I can't say much now - I am in a fever. I could scarcely talk to you because I was continually on he point of getting up and throuwing my arms around you.
Henry on March 10, 1932, after they had becomelovers
You make me tremendously happy to hold me undivided - to let me be the artist, as it were, and yet not forgo the man, the animal, the hungry, insatiable lover. No woman has ever granted me all the privileges I need - and you, why you sing out so blithely, so boldly, with a laugh even - yes, you invite me to go ahead, be myself, benture anything. I adore you for that. That is where you are truly regal, a woman extraordinary. What a woman you are! I laugh to myself now when I think of you. I have no fear of your femaleness.
Henry on March 21, 1932
Anais, I don't know how to tell you what I feel. I live in perpetual expectancy. You come and the time slips away in a dream. It is only when you go that I realize completely your presence. And then it is too late. You numb me. [...] This is a little drunken, Anais. I am saying to myself "here is the first woman with whom I can be absolutely sincere." I remember your saying -"you could fool me. I wouldn't know it." When I walk along the boulevards and think of that. I can't fool you - and yet I would like to. I mean that I can never be absolutely loyal - it's not in me. I love women, or life, too much - which it is, I don't know. But laugh, Anais, I love to hear you laugh. You are the only woman who has a sense of gaiety, a wise tolerance - no more, you seem to urge me to betray you. I love you for that. [...]
I don't know what to expect of you, butit is something in the way of a miracle. I am going to demand everything of you - even the impossible, because you encourage it. You are really strong. I even like your deceit, your treachery. It seems aristocratic to me.
Anais on March 26, 1932
This is strange, Henry. Before, as soon as I came home from all sorts of places I would sit down and write in my journal. Now I want to write you, talk with you. [...]
I love when you say all that happens is good, it is good. I say all that happens is wonderful. For me it is all symphonic., and I am so aroused by living - god, Herny, in you alone I have found the same swelling of enthusiasm, the same quick rising of the blood, the fullness, the the fullness ...
Before, i almost used to think there was something wrong. Everybody else seemed to have the brakes on. [...] I never feel the brakes. I overflow. And when I feel your excitement about life flaring, next to mine, then it makes me dizzy.
Henry on August 6, 1932
Don't expect me to be sane anymore. Don't let's be sensible. it was a marriage at Louveciennes - you can't dispute it. I came away with pieces of you sticking to me; I am walking about, swimming, in an ocean of bloodd, your Andalusian blood, distilled and poisonous. Everything I do and say and think relates back to the marriage. I saw you as the mistress of your home, a Moor with a heavy face, a negress with a white body, eyes all over your skin, woman, woman, woman. I can't see how I can go on living away from you [...] You became a woman with me. I was almost terrified by it. You are not just thirty years old - you are a thousand years old. [...]
Anais, I only thought I loved you before; it was nothing like this certainty that's in me now. Was all this so wonderful only because it was brief and stolen? Were we acting for each other, to each other? Was I less I, or more I, and you less or more you? Is it madness to believe that this could go on? When and where would the drab moments begin?
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