Henry Miller quotes

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Henry Miller

Birthdate: 26. December 1891
Date of death: 7. June 1980
Other names: Henry Valentine Miller

Henry Valentine Miller was an American writer, expatriated in Paris at his flourishing. He was known for breaking with existing literary forms, developing a new sort of semi-autobiographical novel that blended character study, social criticism, philosophical reflection, explicit language, sex, surrealist free association, and mysticism. His most characteristic works of this kind are Tropic of Capricorn, The Colossus of Maroussi, The Time of the Assassins, and The Books in My Life, many of which are based on his experiences in New York and Paris , adding Big Sur and the Oranges of Heronymous Bosch while finally residing in Big Sur, California. He also wrote travel memoirs and literary criticism, and painted watercolors.

Photo: Unknown author / Public domain

Works

Tropic of Cancer
Tropic of Cancer
Henry Miller
Sexus
Sexus
Henry Miller

„Everywhere I go people are making a mess of their lives. Everyone has his private tragedy. It's in the blood now - misfortune, ennui, grief, suicide. The atmosphere is saturated with disaster, frustration, futility. Scratch and scratch, until there's no skin left. However, the effect upon me is exhilarating. Instead of being discouraged or depressed, I enjoy it. I am crying for more and more disasters, for bigger calamities, grander failures. I want the whole world to be out of whack, I want every one to scratch himself to death.“

—  Henry Miller, book Tropic of Cancer

Source: Tropic of Cancer (1934), Chapter One
Context: Well, I'll take these pages and move on. Things are happening elsewhere. Things are always happening. It seems wherever I go there is drama. People are like lice - they get under your skin and bury themselves there. You scratch and scratch until the blood comes, but you can't get permanently deloused. Everywhere I go people are making a mess of their lives. Everyone has his private tragedy. It's in the blood now - misfortune, ennui, grief, suicide. The atmosphere is saturated with disaster, frustration, futility. Scratch and scratch, until there's no skin left. However, the effect upon me is exhilarating. Instead of being discouraged or depressed, I enjoy it. I am crying for more and more disasters, for bigger calamities, grander failures. I want the whole world to be out of whack, I want every one to scratch himself to death.

„One’s destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.“

—  Henry Miller, book Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch

Often misquoted as "One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things".
Source: Miller, H. (1957). Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch

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„I need to be alone. I need to ponder my shame and my despair in seclusion; I need the sunshine and the paving stones of the streets without companions, without conversation, face to face with myself, with only the music of my heart for company.“

—  Henry Miller, book Tropic of Cancer

Source: Tropic of Cancer (1934), Chapter Four, Pappin
Context: I am a free man-and I need my freedom. I need to be alone. I need to ponder my shame and my despair in seclusion. I need sunshine and paving tones of the streets without companions, without conversation, face to face with myself with only the music of my heart for company. What do you want of me? When I have something to say, I put it in print. When I have something to give, I give it. Your prying curiosity turns my stomach! Your compliments humiliate me. Your tea poisons me! I owe nothing to anyone, I would've responsible to God alone-if he exited!

„All about us we see a world in revolt; but revolt is negative, a mere finishing-off process. In the midst of destruction we carry with us also our creation, our hopes, our strength, our urge to be fulfilled.“

—  Henry Miller

"The Absolute Collective", an essay first published in The Criterion on The Absolute Collective : A Philosophical Attempt to Overcome Our Broken State by Erich Gutkind, as translated by Marjorie Gabain
The Wisdom of the Heart (1941)
Context: All about us we see a world in revolt; but revolt is negative, a mere finishing-off process. In the midst of destruction we carry with us also our creation, our hopes, our strength, our urge to be fulfilled. The climate changes as the wheel turns, and what is true for the sidereal world is true for man. The last two thousand years have brought about a duality in man such as he never experienced before, and yet the man who dominates this whole period was one who stood for wholeness, one who proclaimed the Holy Ghost. No life in the whole history of man has been so misinterpreted, so woefully misunderstood as Christ's. If not a single Man has shown himself capable of following the example of Christ, and doubtless none ever will for we shall no longer have need of Christs, nevertheless this one profound example has altered our climate. Unconsciously we are moving into a new realm of being; what we have brought to perfection, in our zeal to escape the true reality, is a complete arsenal of destruction; when we have rid ourselves of the suicidal mania for a beyond we shall begin the life of here and now which is reality and which is sufficient unto itself. We shall have no need for art or religion because we shall be in ourselves a work of art. This is how I interpret realistically what Gutkind has set forth philosophically; this is the way in which man will overcome his broken state. If my statements are not precisely in accord with the text of Gutkind's thesis, I nevertheless am thoroughly in accord with Gutkind and his view of things. I have felt it my duty not only to set forth his doctrine, but to launch it, and in launching it to augment it, activate it. Any genuine philosophy leads to action and from action back again to wonder, to the enduring fact of mystery. I am one man who can truly say that he has understood and acted upon this profound thought of Gutkind's —“the stupendous fact that we stand in the midst of reality will always be something far more wonderful than anything we do."

„No life in the whole history of man has been so misinterpreted, so woefully misunderstood as Christ's.“

—  Henry Miller

"The Absolute Collective", an essay first published in The Criterion on The Absolute Collective : A Philosophical Attempt to Overcome Our Broken State by Erich Gutkind, as translated by Marjorie Gabain
The Wisdom of the Heart (1941)
Context: All about us we see a world in revolt; but revolt is negative, a mere finishing-off process. In the midst of destruction we carry with us also our creation, our hopes, our strength, our urge to be fulfilled. The climate changes as the wheel turns, and what is true for the sidereal world is true for man. The last two thousand years have brought about a duality in man such as he never experienced before, and yet the man who dominates this whole period was one who stood for wholeness, one who proclaimed the Holy Ghost. No life in the whole history of man has been so misinterpreted, so woefully misunderstood as Christ's. If not a single Man has shown himself capable of following the example of Christ, and doubtless none ever will for we shall no longer have need of Christs, nevertheless this one profound example has altered our climate. Unconsciously we are moving into a new realm of being; what we have brought to perfection, in our zeal to escape the true reality, is a complete arsenal of destruction; when we have rid ourselves of the suicidal mania for a beyond we shall begin the life of here and now which is reality and which is sufficient unto itself. We shall have no need for art or religion because we shall be in ourselves a work of art. This is how I interpret realistically what Gutkind has set forth philosophically; this is the way in which man will overcome his broken state. If my statements are not precisely in accord with the text of Gutkind's thesis, I nevertheless am thoroughly in accord with Gutkind and his view of things. I have felt it my duty not only to set forth his doctrine, but to launch it, and in launching it to augment it, activate it. Any genuine philosophy leads to action and from action back again to wonder, to the enduring fact of mystery. I am one man who can truly say that he has understood and acted upon this profound thought of Gutkind's —“the stupendous fact that we stand in the midst of reality will always be something far more wonderful than anything we do."

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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