Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Tropics

No picture, and I know I am a day late for our 126th hero, but a long trip to Vienna, and the bastards charging me 7 quid an hour for internet is my (good) excuse. Either way today's (yesterday's) hero is one Henry Valentine Miller. Born December 26th, 1891 in Manhattan, New York. Born to a tailor, and possessing (by most accounts) a brilliant mind, our boy Henry could not be arsed to attend a regular college. To restless, and inquiring for the conventional school system, he attended the school of life. Moving to Paris in 1930 sans wife, he lived the starving artist lifestyle, became the friend, and lover to Anais Nin, and wrote the book that gains him hero status in my eyes. "The Tropic of Cancer" is a wonderful, racy, book detailing his years of "living the dream" in Paris. I particularly like the way he would figure out what night each of his friends would be having a meal he liked, and how on the night in question he would show up at dinnertime unannounced, and be "invited" to dinner. Quite a good way to keep from starving to death, and a good way to get the food you want. It beats begging, or having to eat the food some bastard just gives you. At least Miller's method insured he got food he wanted. No need to be the starving to death artist, that artist does not get to finish his work. Tropic was banned in the United States until the 1960's, which shows you both what a good book it is, and what Purtian prudes Americans were, and still are. It actually took the United States Supreme Court to declare the book a work of art and not obscene in order to get it printed in the United States. Anyway, my expensively price hour is almost up, so for writing that wonderful book detailing how to starve, but not quite to death, in the City of Lights, Henry Miller (December 26th, 1891-June 7th, 1980, at the age of 88), you are my hero of the day.

1 comment:

Paul Herron said...

Tropic of Cancer is truly the result of living the dream and a gob of spit in America's (and every English-speaking country's)eye. Thank God for the awful conditions that inspired this book. Miller--good choice!