Apr 18, 2014
Quoted From a blog posted in The Guardian in 2007 by novelist-poet Rob Woodard.
"In 1960 the poet Karl Shapiro published an essay in the Parisian literary journal Two Cities in which he called Henry Miller "the greatest living author." The statement naturally caused a certain amount of controversy, although strong opinions concerning Miller's work were far from unusual. Ever since Miller's first novel, Tropic of Cancer, had been published in Paris in 1934, the American author had been eliciting extreme responses - positive and negative - from nearly everyone who came in contact with his writing. Nearly 50 years later, very little has changed...
...With books like Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn, and Black Spring, Miller created a new kind of writing - part autobiography, part philosophical treatise, and part a strangely American brand of street corner storytelling. In Miller's worldview the human race had arrived at a point where it was no longer truly living life, but just existing, mistaking its own thoughts and fears for reality. And art, once the greatest expression of what it means to be human, had become little more than a decoration to conceal and soothe mankind's epic failure. So, like a bull in a literary china shop, Miller let his writing loose as a kind of cure-all for this state. With this tellingly artless prose, Miller of course goes on to create an entire book, or rather a career's worth of books, in which the subject matter is simply wherever the author's mind and heart need to wander. His topics included everything from incredibly lucid meditations on some of life's more profound aspects to warm tributes to some of Miller's favorite writers ..."
Mar 5, 2009
Clearly, I remain out of the mainstream in my lack of respect for Miller's writing. Capricorn is simply a long, undivided continuation of Cancer's stream-of-consciousness, diarist project. Miller was invovlved to some extent in the Paris-scene, opium-dominated pastimes, and I can only believe that his choppy offerings are to a large extent a product of that influence. If one is searching for prurient, or other mind-expanding literature -- it ain't here.