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From the time of his birth, in December of 1891, to his death in 1980, Henry Valentine Miller succeeded in leaving a lasting impression on the world through his writing.

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"Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music - the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself."(Henry Miller, 1891-1980) From the time of his birth, in December of 1891, to his death in 1980, Henry Valentine Miller succeeded in leaving a lasting impression on the world through his writing. Whether he was on "the early streets of sorrow" in his hometown on Brooklyn, NY, or struggling in the rich cultural landscape of Paris, France, Miller was able to capture the essence of the places he had lived. Henry Miller was born to first generation German-American parents in New York, New York. His mother, Louise, was unaffectionate and abusive towards him and his mentally disabled sister; his father, Heinrich, was a heavy drinker. Despite his family problems, Miller thrived in school and graduated second in his class from Brooklyn's Eastern District High School in 1909. He tried attending classes at the City College of New York but dropped out after two months subsequent to learning that Spencer's "Faeiree Queene" was part of his required reading. ...read more.


In 1935 he jealously followed Nin and a lover to New York to make her his wife. She did not have the same plans, however. While he was in New York he met with every one he could to get "Tropic of Cancer" published in the United States, but the book was deemed inappropriate and "too obscene." In 1935 Miller returned to Ville Seurat and continued his work on "Tropic of Capricorn." In 1936 Miller returned to New York with Nin at a time "Tropic of Cancer" was gaining rapid popularity around the world and being smuggled into the US by soldiers. He was becoming an underground celebrity. But by 1940 Henry Miller was once again penniless on the streets of New York. Desperate for money, he received a $500 grant to write a book about America. "The Air Conditioned Nightmare" was finished in 1941 and filled with rough truths about the country, which had just entered World War II. The book would not be published until 1945. During the time that "The Air Conditioned Nightmare" was finished and published Miller traveled around the US. ...read more.


One thing I know, that at the recollection of these words I suddenly realized the impossibility of ever revealing that Paris which I had gotten to know...Such a huge Paris! It would take a lifetime to explore it again...it is a Paris that has to be lived, that has to be experienced each day in a thousand different forms of torture, a Paris that grows inside to like a cancer, and grows and grows until you are eaten away by it. (Tropic of Cancer, 179) Very rarely can the mind be fooled into mistaking a representation for the real thing, but Miller has the ability to do this. Miller dissects a few years of Parisian life through a series of chapters where the story alternates between bewildering and extraneous. He intertwines them into a narrative that is both beautiful and ugly all at once. Henry Miller was also known for writing about himself. He is the protagonist in every one of his books. In an interview with American Legends, Elmer Gertz, Miller's lawyer comments, "Henry Miller wrote exactly as he lived and felt. He tried to avoid all literary devices such as verbal inhibitions." ...read more.

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