Wednesday, September 13, 2017

An Early Note On Henry Miller's Tropic Of Capricorn


I'm reading now Tropic of Capricorn (and also Henry Kissinger's sweeping World Order. Two different sorts of books I'm tempted to guess.) 

As to the first, I'm about a little more than a third through, and my responses to it are quite muddled: I'm impressed by his honesty, by him laying himself bare, perverse warts and all; I'm put off by the sentimentality of his occasional rejections of all that is American, the presumptuousness of his sweeping dismissal of masses of people, the sentimentality of his morbidity and preoccupation with death; I'm impressed by his literary intelligence and the vividness and breadth of his language; but I'm put off by the places where the prose is purple, overwritten; I like his detailed descriptions of the specifics of his job, his sexual adventures, the eccentric and pathetic people he knows and meets, his scoffing at so much convention--it's politically incorrectness on stilts; I'm put off by his sheer amorality. 

All in all, I find myself pulled compellingly along with it, magnetically attracted to continue reading it. 

His prose is the poetry of the id.  

A guy I know called Miller a "bohemian narcissist"--la phrase parfaite.

Someone teaching modern American literature--although this book is so politically incorrect that it's hard to imagine it being taught--might want to think about giving a wild assignment:

C and c, or something to that effect if that phrase isn't too antiquated, Miller's description of his night at Roseland in Tropic Of Cancer and Albert Murray's essay on "the Saturday night function."

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