Read Black Spring by Henry Miller Online


Continuing the subversive self-revelation begun in Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn, Henry Miller takes readers along a mad, free-associating journey from the damp grime of his Brooklyn youth to the sun-splashed cafes and squalid flats of Paris. With incomparable glee, Miller shifts effortlessly from Virgil to venereal disease, from Rabelais to Roquefort. In this sContinuing the subversive self-revelation begun in Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn, Henry Miller takes readers along a mad, free-associating journey from the damp grime of his Brooklyn youth to the sun-splashed cafes and squalid flats of Paris. With incomparable glee, Miller shifts effortlessly from Virgil to venereal disease, from Rabelais to Roquefort. In this seductive technicolor swirl of Paris and New York, he captures like no one else the blending of people and the cities they inhabit....

Title : Black Spring
Author :
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ISBN : 9780802131829
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 243 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Black Spring Reviews

  • Ian
    2019-04-03 21:39

    A Miller’s TaleIf "Tropic of Cancer" was Henry Miller’s debut album, an outspoken work of radical sexual and philosophical self-revelation, then "Black Spring" is a lesser, sophomore work that is a shadow of the debut.Though it is still a worthy effort, it is a lesser work in many ways. It is shorter, it isn’t one continuous work that flows inexorably from beginning to end. It is more or less 10 semi-autobiographical works, each with its own chapter title, much like a collection of essays. Indeed, some of the chapters were individually submitted for publication in magazines.Sexuality is only one subject matter out of many. Paris is only one setting. Miller’s hometown of Brooklyn is equally, if not more, important.There is a greater concern with Henry Miller the person, the individual, rather than Henry Miller, the lover, the fucquer.Ironically, the novel is dedicated to Anais Nin, his lover, who helped fund its publication. Perhaps both were trying to prove to the world that he was a serious writer who could write about more than sex, at least from a masculine point of view.European What NotMiller’s tale commences in Brooklyn. He describes himself as a patriot of the Fourteenth Ward, now known as Williamsburg. His father was for a period a tailor in the vicinity of Fifth Avenue and 30th Street, Manhattan (near the former Hotel Wolcott).His family came from Germany ("Hurrah for the German Fifth!"). He describes "the freaks who made up the living family tree". He identifies not only with his family background, but its German and European origins. In both "Tropic of Cancer" and "Black Spring", he refers to Goethe."I am a man of the old world, a seed that was transplanted by the wind, a seed which failed to blossom in the mushroom oasis of America. I belong on the heavy tree of the past. My allegiance, physical and spiritual, is with the men of Europe, those who were once Franks, Gauls, Vikings, Huns, Tatars, what not."Miller derives his ambition from European roots:"Once I thought there were marvelous things in store for me...I was part of the great tree, part of the past, with crest and lineage, with pride, pride...Always merry and bright!"In the StreetMiller prides himself on the toughness he learned in the streets of Brooklyn. The street is where you find truth. The street is authentic and real:"What is not in the street is false, derived, that is to say, literature."It’s the sensibility of the street that he brings to his fiction, that and the street-wise cynicism of the street-walker. He doesn’t imagine himself writing from a gentleman’s study, but from a poverty-stricken artist’s garret.Once in the street, you are part of the world, and you could be anywhere.A Walk, A Dream, A ReverieMiller claims, "I am not a traveler, not an adventurer," but he is a walker, and his walking takes him first from childhood to youth and then to adulthood, but eventually to Paris, all the time seeking out something, himself.He sees youth as whole and undivided. "There was no sharp separation between joy and sorrow: they fused into one, as our waking life fuses with dream and sleep." Then comes "the great fragmentation of maturity. The great change": "...All things, as we walk, splitting with us into a myriad iridescent fragments…We live in the mind, in ideas, in fragments. We no longer drink in the wild outer music of the streets – we remember only. Like a monomaniac we relive the drama of youth."Miller explored these Proustian concerns in "Tropic of Cancer" as well. Here, he adds:"One passes imperceptibly from one scene, one age, one life to another. Suddenly, walking down a street, be it real or be it a dream, one realises for the first time that the years have flown, that all this has passed forever and will live on only in memory; and then the memory turns inward with a strange, clutching brilliance and one goes over these scenes and incidents perpetually, in dream and reverie, while walking a street, while lying with a woman, while reading a book, while talking to a stranger..."Miller wants to reinstate his wholeness (though not necessarily his wholesomeness), and he will wander everywhere, walk anywhere in his quest for wholeness.In Search of His RootsIf you’ll permit me to descend into the Australian vernacular, Miller didn’t just return to Europe in pursuit of sexual conquests, he was seeking an alternative to the industrial and materialistic life he found in America:"Things happened to me in my search for a way out. Up till now I had been working away in a blind tunnel, burrowing in the bowels of the earth for light and water. I could not believe, being a man of the American continent, that there was a place on earth where a man could be himself."Europe was to be that place, well, at least Paris.I assume that Berlin and Vienna were less appealing in the early Thirties, because of the contemporaneous ascent of Nazism, though Miller imagines Germany in the following terms in a dream:"Everything is sordid, shoddy, thin as pasteboard. A Coney Island of the mind...Everything is sliding and crumbling, everything glitters, totters, teeters, titters."Paris gives Miller the freedom to think and to write, notwithstanding his abject poverty, having resolved not to get a job:"Here I am in the womb of time and nothing will jolt me out of my stillness. One more wanderer who has found the flame of his restlessness. Here I sit in the open street composing my song."Despite his romanticisation of Europe, he realises that it, too, is changing:"The map of Europe is changing before our eyes; nobody knows where the new continent begins or ends...I am here in the midst of a great change. I have forgotten my own language and yet I do not speak the new language."The Great Wall of ChinaMiller hopes that a new world will emerge from these changes and his own explorations.He describes this brave new world as "China", not necessarily the nation "China", but a metaphorical place, like the “East” that Hermann Hesse adverts to.The metaphor seems to derive from his sense of a wall:"In Paris, out of Paris, leaving Paris or coming back to Paris, it's always Paris and Paris is France and France is China. All that which is incomprehensible to me runs like a great wall over the hills and valleys through which I wander. Within this great wall I can live out my Chinese life in peace and security..."By force of circumstance. I became a Chinaman - a Chinaman in my own country! I took to the opium of dream in order to face the hideousness of a life in which I had no part. As quietly and naturally as a twig falling into the Mississippi I dropped out of the stream of American life."The Song of LoveMiller sings his song while the world around him is collapsing:"I see America spreading disaster. I see America as a black curse upon the world. I see a long night settling in and that mushroom which has poisoned the world withering at the roots... "I am dazzled by the glorious collapse of the world!"Ironically, it’s within this context of destruction that he will learn to write:"The climate for my body and soul is here where there is quickness and corruption. I am proud not to belong to this century."In essence, what he wishes to write about is not the world around him, not its history, not its politics, not its ideological future:"Tomorrow you may bring about the destruction of your world…but tonight I would like to think of one man, a lone individual, a man without a name or country, a man whom I respect because he has absolutely nothing in common with you - MYSELF. Tonight I shall meditate upon that which I am."As does Walt Whitman, "I celebrate myself, and sing myself".Miller refers to a God, though it’s arguable that it’s not the God of Christianity:"It is no sacred heart that inspires me, no Christ I am thinking of. Something better than a Christ, something bigger than a heart, something beyond God Almighty I think of - MYSELF. I am a man. That seems to me sufficient."So above all else it is himself with whom Miller is in love, and he is both the subject and the object of his Song of Love.This Animal, This Man is Some BodyMiller’s song is his book:"For me the book is the man and my book is the man I am…I am a man without a past and without a future. I am - that is all."Miller is content to "be". In the language of Erich Fromm, he doesn’t need to "have", to acquire and horde materialistic possessions.At the heart of what Miller’s Man is, is the body:"In the honeycomb I am, in the warm belly of the Sphinx. The sky and the earth they tremble with the live, pleasant weight of humanity. At the very core is the body. Beyond is doubt, despair, disillusionment. The body is the fundament, the imperishable."Of course, in the mind of a male, the body takes his own shape:"I am a man of God and a man of the Devil. To each his due. Nothing eternal, nothing absolute. Before me always the image of the body, our triune god of penis and testicles."Womanhood must be described in the same terms, if for no other reason than authenticity:"I want a world where the vagina is represented by a crude, honest slit, a world that has feeling for bone and contour, for raw primary colours, a world that has fear and respect for its animal origins."Who’s This Man?One last comment about the man before we talk about sex. This is the essence of Miller as he sees himself:"Because of Uranus which crosses my longitudinal I am inordinately fond of qunt, hot chitterlings, and water bottles...I am volatile, quixotic, unreliable, independent, and evanescent. Also short, I am an idle fellow who pisses his time away. I have absolutely nothing to show for my labors except my genius..."An Inordinate FondnessThere is much more about Miller’s inordinate fondness in "Tropic of Cancer" than there is in "Black Spring".However, there are two scenes that are examples of what Kate Millett criticizes in "Sexual Politics".In my review of "Tropic of Cancer", I mentioned his "sexual exuberance".On page 96, Miller’s protagonist goes to the home of a recent widow with whose beauty he is infatuated.They are sitting next to each other on the couch, when, after some formalities and sobbing…"I finally bent over and without saying a word I raised her dress and slipped it into her...she was a pushover...I thought to myself what a sap you’ve been to wait for so long."On page 123, on a train during rush hour, he is "pressed up against a woman so tight I can feel the hair on her twat. So tightly glued together my knuckles are making a dent in her groin."Millett refers to the pushover comment in terms of Miller’s and men’s belief that "such opportunities are missed only for the lack of enterprise or through adherence to false ideals."Men are supposed to have absolute licence, and women are supposed to be perpetually available for sex. In other words, all women are supposed to be as available as whores, except that they should expect no payment or consideration.Millett makes no comment on the second scene. However, it contains within it a more explicit threat of sexual violence.The protagonist alights at the same stop as the woman, then follows her up to street level, until he decides that she is not interested in sex and he ends his pursuit.Later that night, he considers that he "ought to go back to the subway, grab a Jane and rape her in the street".To the extent that this scene captures what goes on in the mind of a stranger, it is a caution to all women.While Millett is highly critical of some of Miller’s sexual descriptions, she does preface her comments as follows:"Miller is a compendium of American sexual neuroses, and his value lies not in freeing us from such afflictions, but in having had the honesty to express and dramatise them…What Miller did articulate was the disgust, the contempt, the hostility, the violence, and the sense of filth with which our culture, or more specifically, its masculine sensibility, surrounds sexuality. And women too; for somehow it is women upon whom this onerous burden of sexuality falls."While Millett wrote these words in 1969 and I think there is much of literary merit in Miller’s writing, I don’t think Millett’s views should be dismissed, even though it’s over forty years later."Tropic of Cancer"My review of the first volume in the trilogy, "Tropic of Cancer", is here:

  • Finbar
    2019-04-18 00:46

    This book changed my life. No hyperbole. I never looked at the world the same way after reading this. It was also present at the moment of serendipity when I finally "got" modernism. Probably the best birthday gift I've ever received. Thanks Ken.

  • Henry Martin
    2019-04-06 02:32

    Warning: This review is long, has excessive amount of quotes, and does not reach much of a conclusion. If you have a short attention span, this may not be for you. However, if you appreciate fine writing, I encourage you to read on. For me, Henry Miller is the finest writer America has produced over the past century. When his name comes up, most readers associate Miller with sex, scandals, pornography. This is mostly due to the press attention given to his two books, The Tropic of Cancer, and The Tropic of Capricorn. There is, however, much more to Miller than these two books. Miller's life work can be broken to three separate categories: Sex, Surrealism, and Philosophy. The works that make up these three categories did not come in a chronological order, even though his latter works are much more philosophical. The shift from sex to philosophy is very noticeable in his Rosy Crucifixion trilogy, where Nexus makes a grand departure from the world of sex and into philosophical realms. Nevertheless, when I say sex, I do not mean obscenity. Miller's writing is dotted with sex, but not sex for sex's value alone; it is sex that is a part of the story, not the other way around. Unlike his other books, Black Spring stands alone, covering a period of Miller's life not often discussed in his other works - his early years. It is also, undoubtedly, his most surreal work. By surreal I mean that not only it touches on the principles of surrealism, but that it is a work riddled with surreal imagery. In Black Spring, this imagery is Miller's greatest asset. The Fourteenth Ward is the opening chapter of Black Spring, an opening chapter into the intimate life of Henry Miller. This is the chapter where he talks about his childhood, his friends, the people and the streets he grew up with. It is a painful place, yet a safe haven. The following is a fine example from this chapter:"And then one day, as if suddenly the flesh came undone and the blood beneath the flesh had coalesced with the air, suddenly the whole world roars again and the very skeleton of the body melts like wax. Such a day it may be when you first encounter Dostoevski. You remember the smell of the tablecloth on which the book rests; you look at the clock and it is only five minutes from eternity; you count the objects on the mantelpiece because the sound of numbers is a totally new sound in your mouth, because everything new and old, or touched and forgotten, is a fire and mesmerism. Now every door of the cage is open and whichever way you walk is a straight line toward infinity, a straight, mad line over which the breakers roar and the great rocs of marble and indigo swoop to lower their fevered eggs. Out of the waves beating phosphorescent step proud and prancing the enameled horses that marched with Alexander, their tight-proud bellies glowing with calcium, their nostrils dipped in laudanum. Now it is all snow and lice, with the great band of Orion slung around the ocean's crotch."Third or Fourth Day of Spring, the second chapter in Black Spring, fluctuates between his childhood home and his current place in Clichy. "The third room was an alcove where I contracted the measles, chicken pox, scarlet fever, diphtheria, et cetera: all the lovely diseases of childhood which make time stretch out in everlasting bliss and agony, especially when Providence has provided a window over the bed with bars and ogres to claw at them and sweat as thick as carbuncles, rapid as a river and sprouting, sprouting as if it were always spring and tropics, with thick tenderloin steaks for hands and feet heavier than led or light as snow, feet and hands separated by oceans of time or incalculable latitudes of light, the little knob of the brain hidden away like a grain of sand and the toenails rotting blissfully under the ruins of Athens."Where this chapter opens with the description of his home, it shifts to his obsession with the way humanity destroys itself, the never-ending list of wrongs he sees."I am thinking of that age to come when God is born again, when men will fight and kill for God as now and for a long time to come men are going to fight for food."One could argue that Miller was a pessimist. I disagree. Miller, for the most part, enjoyed life to its fullest. Perhaps he foresaw what was in store around the corner, perhaps he foresaw the destruction WWII brought upon Europe, which I will touch upon later in this review."I am dazzled by the glorious collapse of the world."A Saturday Afternoon, the third chapter, is a wonderful praise to France. Spending the day on his bicycle, Miller joyfully explores everything French, and sings his amorous hymns to the French people, his newly-found countrymen. He finds joy in the simple pleasure of pissing in an open urinal (and he recounts quite a few of them), or visiting a toilet with a book. "No harm, I say, can ever be done a great book by taking it with you to the toilet. Only the little books suffer thereby. Only the little books make ass wipers." It is a chapter about French countryside, toilets, and great literature. Not an easy combination to pull off, but he did. Enough said. The Angel is my Watermark, the fourth chapter in Black Spring. This is a stand-alone piece, which chronicles Miller's attempt at a watercolor painting. Those of you not familiar with Miller may not know this about him, but he was a prolific, and pretty good, watercolor artist. I believe it originally started as a way to make money, but later it was done purely out of joy. In later years, when Miller settled in Big Sur, he used to wrap books in his watercolors and sent the books to his fans and supporters. Since then, some of his watercolors sold for insane amounts of money, and later there was a limited run of hand-signed serigraphs. Being a sucker for Miller, I own one of them - Really, the Blues. The nice thing about the serigraphs, aside from being limited edition and hand signed, is that each one of them is unique in color composition. Back to the story at hand. After waking up and feeling like creating something, Miller is 'attacked' by a muse. He calls it dictation, a process where words and sentences come to him so fast he has a hard time keeping up and writing it down. This lasts for many hours during which he attempts to take a break, goes out, and eats something. But the dictation continues, he writes on the tablecloth, goes home, and it still continues. By the time it is over with, he is tired and worn out. Then, seeing a pamphlet with paintings by inmates in an insane-asylum, he realizes that this whole time he really wanted to create a painting. "I'm very eager to start in. Just the same, I'm at loss for ideas. The dictation has ceased. I have a half mind to copy one of these illustrations. But then I'm a little ashamed of myself—to copy the work of a lunatic is the worst form of plagiarism." And so he begins, with a horse of all things. Not having any picture of a horse, he draws from memory. Here, he shows his playful nature: "To put meat on the hoof is a delicate task, extremely delicate. And to make the legs join the body naturally, not as if they were stuck on with glue. My horse already has five legs: the easiest thing to do is to transform one of them into a phallus erectus. No sooner said than done. And how he is standing just like a terra cotta figure of the sixth century B.C. The tail isn't in yet, but I've left an opening just above the asshole."and in the next paragraph: "During the leg experiments the stomach has become dilapidated. I patch it as best I can—until it looks like a hammock. Let it go at that. If it doesn't look like a horse when I'm through I can always turn it into a hammock."and one paragraph later: "At this point, I admit frankly, I am completely disgusted with my prowess. I have a mind to erase and begin all over again. But I detest the eraser. I would rather convert the horse into a dynamo or a grand piano than erase my work completely."The more he works at it, the worse it becomes. Here he says: "However, when I get into a predicament of this sort I know that I can extricate myself later when it comes time to apply the color. The drawing is simply the excuse for color. The color is the toccata: drawing belongs to the realm of idea."He continues with the drawing, making it more and more elaborate, throwing things in there that have no place in the original idea. A bridge, a man, trees, houses, a mountain..."What's a mountain? It's a pile of dirt which never wears away, at least, not in historical time. A mountain's too easy. I want a volcano I want a reason for my horse to be snorting and prancing. Logic, logic! "Le fou montre un souci constant de logique!" (Les Frances aussi.) Well, I'm not a fou, especially a French fou I can take a few liberties, particularly with the work of an imbecile."Thus he starts on the volcano. "When I'm all through, I have a shirt on my hands. A shirt, precisely!"..."One thing, however, stands out unmistakably, clear and clean, and that is the bridge. It's strange, but if you can draw an arch the rest of the bridge follows naturally. Only an engineer can ruin a bridge."This last line is rather important. It is subtle, but it points to a larger issue Miller seemed to have, and that is the issue with progress, advancement, especially the modern way of things changing fast while destroying old habits, familiar places, picturesque views. This is why I think he loved France and Greece so much, but disliked America. The old world held onto the old, the familiar. The new world kept building and rebuilding. No attachment. Here he inserts an angel above his horse. "It's a sad angel with a fallen stomach, and the wings are supported by umbrella ribs."Inspiration for this is explained here: "Have you ever sat at a railway station and watched people killing time? Do they not sit a little like crestfallen angels—with their broken arches and their fallen stomachs? Those eternal few minutes in which they are condemned to be alone with themselves—does it not put umbrella ribs in their wings?All angels in religious art are false. If you want to see angels you must go to the Grand Central Depot, or to the Gare St. Lazare. Especially the Gare St.Lazare—Salle des Pas Perdus." The piece eventually evolves into something entirely different than Miller's original intention. And so does the story. It is no longer about painting, about horses, or about anything that might be on the canvas (and there were many, many things taking appearance only to be transformed or covered entirely). It is now about Miller, about humanity, about angels. "My whole life seems to be wrapped up in that dirty handkerchief, the Bowery, which I walked through day after day, year in and year out—a dose of smallpox whose scars never disappear. If I had a name then it was Cimex Lectularius. If I had a home it was a slide trombone. If I had a passion, it was to wash myself clean."After ruining the painting, he decides to wash it in a sink, scrub it, and lay it on his desk. Here the story takes a completely different turn and Miller shines in his surreal monologue for three pages. In the end, this is as much about the painting as it is about Miller himself. It is a story of imbalance, of internal struggle; and as such it is beautiful.The Tailor Shop is the fifth chapter, and here we are offered a glimpse into his early adult years. At first, Miller sets the scene: His father's tailor shop, grumpy customers, half-wit brother, and his mother who does not have a clue. He spends a quite a bit of time on his father's customers, often using them not only for background, but also to express his disagreement with advancement. I really liked this simple description: "Of the three brothers I liked Albert the best. He had arrived at that ripe age when the bones become as brittle as glass. His spine had the natural curvature of old age, as though he were preparing to fold up and return to the womb."He was writing Black Spring in France, and his disdain with America was already apparent: "Yes, all the silk-lined duffers I knew well—we had the best families in America on our roster. And what a pus and filth when they opened their dirty traps!"His sentiment about the changes in society, his surroundings, and the world in general are pretty clear here: "As the old 'uns died off they were replaced by young blood. Young blood! That was the war cry all along the Avenue, wherever there were silk-lined suits for sale. A fine bloody crew they were, the young bloods. Gamblers, racetrack touts, stockbrokers, ham actors, prize fighters, etc. Rich one day, poor the next. No honor, no loyalty, no sense of responsibility. A fine bunch of gangrened syphilics they were, most of 'em. Came back from Paris or Monte Carlo with dirty postcards and a string of big blue rocks in their groin. Some of them with balls as big as a lamb's fry."Miller is clearly showing affection for the less fortunate, as he has done in most of his books. While he thrashes the rich and powerful, he embraces the everyday men."The men my father loved were weak and lovable. They went out, each and every one of them, like brilliant stars before the sun. They went out quietly and catastrophically. No shred of them remained—nothing but the memory of their blaze and glory. They flow inside me now like a vast river choked with falling stars. They form the black flowing river which keeps the axis of my world in constant revolution. Out of this black, endless, ever-expanding girdle of nigh springs the continuous morning which is wasted in creation. Each morning the river overflows its banks, leaving the sleeves and buttonholes and all the rinds of a dead universe strewn along the beach where I stand contemplating the ocean of the morning of creation." And his surreal imagery pours forth as the story goes on, once again changing the course from its beginning to the larger issues Miller sees with the world: "It's staggeringly beautiful at this hour when every one seems to be going his own private way. Love and murder, they're still a few hours apart. Love and murder, I feel it coming with the dusk: new babies coming out of the womb, soft, pink flesh to get tangled up in barbed wire and scream all night long and rot like dead bone a thousand miles from nowhere. Crazy virgins with ice-cold jazz in their veins egging men on to erect new buildings and men with dog collars around their necks wading through the muck up to the eyes so that the czar of electricity will rule the waves. What's in the seed scares the living piss out of me: a brand new world is coming out of the egg and no matter how fast I write the old world doesn't die fast enough. I hear the new machine guns and the millions of bones splintered at once; I see dogs running mad and pigeons dropping with letters tied to their ankles." In France, Miller found his peace. He found understanding, and a society that he could embrace. His tormented view of self in America has finally cleared, and he truly enjoyed life. His writing here is much more calm, much more picturesque. In France he found pleasure in observing its people, their habits, their ways. Whereas here he saw himself as an individual, in America he saw himself as part of a machine, a machine he had no desire to be a part of. "Swimming in the crowd, a digit with the rest. Tailored and re-tailored. The lights are twinkling—on and off, on and off. Sometimes it's a rubber tire, sometimes it's a piece of chewing gum. The tragedy of it is that nobody sees the look of desperation on my face. Thousands and thousands of us, and we are passing one another without a look of recognition. The lights jigging like electric needles. The atoms going crazy with light and heat. A conflagration going on behind the glass and nothing burns away. Men breaking their backs, men bursting their brains, to invent a machine which a child will manipulate. If I could only find the hypothetical child who's to run this machine I'd put a hammer in its hands and say: Smash it! Smash it!"Jabberwhorl Cronstadt the sixth chapter is a rather eccentric, imagery-rich piece with very surreal settings. Since most of the story itself is comprised of a dialogue, it is impossible to quote a single paragraph without taking it out of context. This piece, nevertheless, is thought-provoking in its own way. Jabberwhorl is an eccentric artist, or perhaps he only serves as a metaphor for one of Miller's alter egos. In the end, he is laid to rest, which could also mean Miller's own departure from one period of his life into another. Part Two Follows:

  • وائل المنعم
    2019-04-11 23:47

    لو خيرت أن أقابل واحدا فقط من جميع الأدباء والفنانين الذين أعجب بهم لاخترت ميلر دون تردد، ميلر طاقة إبداعية متدفقة تتحرك على قدمين، ساكتفي في مقابلتي معه بمراقبته وهو يتكلم يقرأ يكتب، يعلق على المارة يحكي لي عن أصدقائه وزوجاته. استطيع أن اقرأ لميلر عشرة آلاف صفحة دون توقف وأكون مستمتعا بغض النظر عما يتحدث عنه. لا أعرف كيف يقرأه البعض مترجما، إنجاز ميلر الأكبر لغوي، أقرأ له أجمل نثر مكتوب بالإنجليزية، تميزه اللغوي يغطي تماما على جوانب القصور في كتاباته إن وجدت. أنصح الجميع بمحاولة قراءة أعماله بلغتها الأصلية رغم صعوبتها.في العمل الذي بين أيدينا والذي من الصعب تصنيفه يحكي ميلر عن أصدقاء طفولته عن عائلته بمجانينها عنJabberwhorl Cronstadtعن غربته في وطنه وعن وطنه الذي لجأ إليه، يتحدث عن الفن والدين والله، يدخلنا إلى عالم أحلامه وما أدراك ما أحلامه.الفصل المعنون!The Angel is my Watermarkقطعة خالصة من الفن ونثر كتب ليخلد في تاريخ الأدب.

  • Sean Wilson
    2019-04-08 01:49

    Black Spring is Henry Miller's hallucinogenic fragments between the Tropics. Each fragment or short story alternates between Paris and New York in a psychedelic swirl of stream of consciousness and technicolor modernism."I sit in the dead center of traffic, stilled by the hush of a new life growing out of the decay about me."

  • Shaimaa Ali
    2019-04-08 01:24

    ما أقسى القراءة لهنري ميللر!بعد الإعتياد على طريقة اختيار كلماته الفظة .. وبعد الإعتياد على كل هذا الجنون الفكرى ، والرغبة المتدفقة فى الكتابة عن كل شىء .. تجد نفسك أمام كتلة من الغضب الهادر لأديب عانى كثيرا.. هى ليست برواية ولا بسيرة ذاتية بل هى تداخل بينهما .. تأتى "ربيع أسود" كامتداد ثان لثلاثية (مدار السرطان/ربيع أسود/مدار الجدي" .. وان اعتبرتها أفضل من سابقتها كثيرا .. ازدحم الكتاب بالكثير من الشخصيات والتفصيلات الدقيقة عن حيواتهم .. وان اختفوا تماما فى نهاية الكتاب وتبقى فقط ذلك "المونولوج" او الحوار الداخلى بين ميللر ونفسه ..ميللر وقارئه .. --------------------* انني اولد ثم اولد من جديد مرارا وتكرارا. أولد حين أجوب الشوارع، وأولد وانا جالس فى مقهى وأولد وانا أضاجع عاهرة. أولد ثم أولد من جديد مرارا وتكرارا. خطو سريع وجزاؤه ليس مجرد الموت، بل الموت المتكرر ..* لا شىء مسجل على وجهى - لا المعاناة ، ولا الفرح، ولا الأمل، ولا اليأس. أمشى فى الشوارع حاملا وجه حمال عادى. لقد شهدت أرضا تخرب، ومنازل تدمر، وعائلات تمزق. كل مدينة عبرتها قتلتني - كان بؤسي بلا حدود، وكدى المتواصل بلا نهاية. انتقلت من مدينة إلى أخرى، مخلفا ورائى موكبا هائلا من الموتى والذوات المقعقعة. أما انا نفسى فواصلت وواصلت وواصلت ..* وهذا الكتاب عندما سيتم، سيسمى مقدمة نقدية للاوعي. سوف تلبسه جلد جدى أبيض وستكون الأحرف مكتوبة بشكل نقش ذهبي نافر. سيكون سردا لقصة حياتك دون تنقيح. وسيرغب الجميع فى قراءته لأنه سيحتوى الحقيقة المطلقة ولا شىء غير الحقيقة.. ---------------------------------------الكتاب أهداه ميللر إلى أنانيس نن ..التى كتبت عن أدب ميللر مرة فى مذكراتها (مقارنة بينه وبين معاناة الأدباء الأوروبيين ككافكا ودوستوفسكي ):"منذ أمد بعيد كنت قد رأيت تبريرات (هنري ميللر) لنوبات غضبه وعدائيته وانتقاماته فآمنت بأنها جميعا ردود فعل لمعاناة غير عادية وقد أظهر كثير من الكتاب الأمريكان هذه المرارة والحقد. ولكنني عندما أقارن حيواتهم ومعاناتهم مع حيوات الأدباء الأوروبيين (دوستوفسكي او كافكا) أجد أن عذابات الأوروبي أشد وطأة .. فالجميع عرفوا الفاقة والبؤس العظيم ولكنهم لم يتحولوا إلى غاضبين أو أناسا عدوانيين مثل (ادوارد هلبرغ أو هنري ميللر) ، إذ يمكن تحويل الغيظ والغضب إلى أعمال أدبية، وإلى حنو إنسانى ... إن مرض الربو الذي أصاب (بروست)، ونفي دوستوفسكي إلى سيبريا ارتبط كل ذلك بحنوهما على الإنسانية ..

  • أحمد شاكر
    2019-03-29 22:21

    ميللر كممسوس لا تنتهي هذاياناته، التي لا تنتمي لأي جنس. فلا الذي بين أيدينا رواية، ولا سيرة ذاتية كما هو متعارف عليه.إنه يهذي وحسب. يستعرض قدراته الغير عادية علي الكتابة والسرد بلا توقف.فوضي: ألف اتجاه للسير ولا سير في اتجاه..صخب: كضربات عريضة بفرشاة ألوان غمست مرة واحدة في كل الألوان..هذيان.صخب.فوضي.كل شيء، ولا شيء.كتاب بلا بداية، وبلا نهاية، كبير بحجم مجرة، لاتنته كلماته، ومحدود بحجم أوراقه ال 270.من يقرأ لميللر لن يشبع منه.. لن يمل.

  • AnaVlădescu
    2019-04-23 02:26

    Can we just see, by show of hands, how many people understood what this book is about? Nobody has their hands up? OK. We have no idea what this book is about. Clearing that up makes reading it easier.Outside of his more auto-biographical works, Miller is just one lean metaphor-making machine. From page one, it can discourage even the bravest of readers, by giving you no time at all to adjust to the rhythm or the cadence of his sentences. In "Black Spring", you will find a very dark Miller, writing as if he is on the edge of insanity - though by his account, he is probably just reaching sanity now. I can see how many people, even if they are fans of Miller's writing, will back out of finishing this book, or will finish it the way I did - eating my way through it one page at a time, sometimes even skipping a few (no shame there, my friends), when things get rough. For example, why should I read two pages filled with names of people? I absolutely skipped past that. You will find here the erotically blunt Miller that the world is used to:I want a world where the vagina is represented by a crude, honest slit, a world that has feeling for bone and contour, for raw, primary colors, a world that has fear and respect for its animal origins. I'm sick of looking at cunts all tickled up, disguised, deformed, idealized. Cunts with nerve ends exposed. I don't want to watch young virgins masturbating in the privacy of their boudoirs or biting their nails or tearing their hair [...].Pressed up against a woman so tight I can feel the hair on her twat. So tightly glued together my knuckles are making a dent in her groin. It is the same crude Miller that I absolutely fell in love with in all of his works. His writing is still cruelly beautiful, albeit of a complexity that sometimes just wooshes past your head. I can only recommend him to very patient readers - you won't get much out of this work but the feeling that you have "conquered" it by the end. The rest of the book seems to be a conscious attempt at making the reader lose himself in rows upon rows of words, in an endless enumeration that makes you forget you ever had a train of thought: Seeds falling down through the drain: young canteloupes, squash, caviar, macaroni, bile, spittle, phlegm, lettuce leaves, sardines' bones, Worcestershire sauce, stale beer, urine, bloodclots, Kruschen salts, oatmeal, chew tobacco, pollen, dust, grease, wool, cotton threads, match sticks, live worms, shredded wheat, scalded milk, castor oil.And then you gave the absolute, unique, Milleresque gems: What's in the seed scares the living piss out of me: a brand new world is coming out of the egg and no matter how fast I write the old world doesn't die fast enough. I hear the new machine guns and the millions of bones splintered at once; I see dogs running mad and pigeons dropping with letters tied to their ankle.As a reader, I am content with going through a book of metaphors if I emerge at the end with such a passage making a living inside of my head. Miller may not be for everyone, but I think everyone should try him at once. Maybe don't start with "Black Spring", if you want to end up liking him. Apart from that, I'm very glad I tackled this work.

  • Jim
    2019-04-17 01:39

    I've read that Miller is out of fashion at the moment. I can see why he might have been in fashion in just the same way as James Joyce and D H Lawrence were banned – and so also fashionable – because of their shock element. Now none of them are particularly shocking so why should we keep reading? Based purely on this book, which the blurb on the back calls "his most distinguished book from a stylistic point of view," I can see that there is a lot more to Miller than simple shock tactics. His biggest strength is as an observer but there's not much point being an observer if you're not also equipped to effectively communicate what you've observed, then what he does is comment on what he has observed (which he does with Joycean flair) and what he has to say is thought-provoking. Is it dated? Yes, of course it is, but who would suggest that we stop reading Dickens because he's dated? I would suggest that he's not outdated. Good writing doesn't get old especially if its themes are broad: everyone has a childhood, everyone had a dad, everyone needs to pee and although I doubt many of us will ever have a friend quite like Jabberwhorl Cronstadt we all have friends who from time to time test the bonds of friendship. I would recommend this book to writers as a textbook first and foremost. I'm sure we've all had a crack at stream of consciousness writing and fallen flat on our faces; like abstract art, it's not as easy as it looks. These are ten ways of doing it. I say, ten, because every story is different in style and approach and yet they all have the name Miller running through the centre of them like a stick of Blackpool rock.I would not pretend for a minute that this is an easy book because it is not. Who said reading was supposed to be easy? Going for a stroll is easy. Climbing up a mountain isn't but which is the more satisfying I ask you? You can read my full review on my blog here.

  • Jason
    2019-03-26 20:26

    In the heat of the late afternoon the city rises up like a huge polar bear shaking off its rhododendrons.If you can't enjoy this line, you might not enjoy this book. This line is perfect summary, the imagery that needs to be connected is fierce and brilliant. The point is that you are going to be falling into the recesses of Miller's brain, dancing with his Id as a stripper dances with the pole, you'll need to make the connections, you'll need to uncover the brilliance of the geography of Miller's mind.When i say this, "the geography of Miller's mind," that is how i propose this book. he takes you through the streets of his childhood, to the popular haunts of his time in France, to ancient cities he has explored in his mind, to mythic cities that were popularized by fictions. He takes you not only to the New York of his childhood, but to the way he remembers the New York of his childhood. You are reading a travelogue, and your conductor is a mad scientist. This is why when he rediscovers something or someone he elaborates not with a description full of the person's actions and life, but of his emotional commitment to that person. If someone from his past was soulless, they'll have tentacles. If someone was a bastion of innocence, they will sprout wings in his memory. For instance the way he remembers Mele, a slightly retarded girl that fascinated Miller with the brilliance of her innocence was the depth in which he witnessed the world punish her: Two great round eyes, full and black as the night, staring at me uncomprehendingly. No maniac can look that way. No idiot can look that way. Only an angel or a saint.He epitomizes her as the perfection of this world, I don't think that Mele had any knowledge of sin or of guilt or of remorse. I think that Mele was born a half-witted angel. I think Mele was a saint...Why couldn't they make a place for her by the fire, let her sit there and dream, if that's what she wanted to do? Why must everybody work--even the saints and the angels? Why must half-wits set a good example?When he is forced to institutionalize her, he realizes that he is losing a part of himself. her trust in him was self-affirmation, assured by her naivety and unlikeliness to beguile him with false flatteries: And now she's very tranquil and she calls the cows by their first name. The moon fascinates her. She has no fear because i'm with her and she always trusted me. I was her favorite. Even though she was a half-wit she was good to me. The others were more intelligent, but their hearts were bad...During the journey I wept--I couldn't help it. When people are too good for this world they have to be put under lock and key. There's something wrong with people who are too good.In order to get Miller, you have to understand his abstraction. He takes the elements from this world and coordinates them into symbols, each with an inherent meaning. Then he blasts those symbols for inconsistency and stereotypes, he exploits as he cleanses. Through him is run a tunnel of choppers and dicers, but also reparation and a system to create new metaphors, metaphors cleansed from the toil of history. His geography is new, without the dirt of the pioneers or the sperm of the crusaders, his map is drawn from the fanciful collection of birds and seahorses and sequins landmasses and anatomical parts that draw up a human being as much as they do a landscape. You have to hear in his metaphor the way things are pieced together, then you start to understand the meaning or instigation: Life is just a continuous honeymoon filled with chocolate layer cake and cranberry pie. Put a penny in the slot and see a woman undressing on the grass. Put a penny in the slot and win a set of false teeth. The world is made of new parts every afternoon: the soiled parts are set to the dry cleaner, the used parts are scrapped and sold for junkHere, he uses images from a childhood; the coveted (chocolate cake, undressing woman) versus the deranged (false teeth, a scrap yard, dry cleaner); to infiltrate that part of the psyche that lays dormant when reading details. He is trying to instigate the emotional connections to substance, he does this by recalling the geography of his mind and dancing with the images. His process is monumental:the air beats thick, the bats are flapping, the cement softens, the iron rails flatten under the broad flanges of the trolley wheels. Life is written down in headlines twelve feet high with periods, commas, and semicolonsSurely nothing is better than to take a train at night when all inhabitants are asleep and to drain from their open mouths the rich succulent morsels of their unspoken tongue. When every one sleeps the mind is crowded with events; the mind travels in a swarm, like summer flies that are sucked along by the trainI move in a golden hum through a syrup of warm lazy bodiesYou won't find a coherent story in Miller (unless you read the Rosy Crucifixion or one of his actual travel books), what you will find is a spiritual journey through the connections of the mind. He is a poet who writes in prose. He finds the ethereal substances and writes scores by their name, but he does not attempt to write the music. He is strange, because he writes the notes in their abstraction as one would write details, but he is using the force that drives music to write his prose. Essentially, he is a writer with a poet's mind. Hence, having to make all the connections in what was supposed to just be a story. In one section of the book, titled "The Angel is my Watermark!" he details a painting that he is creating in vivid detail, calling it at one point, a sad angel with a fallen stomach, and the wings are supported by umbrella ribs. Is he talking about the shape of the figure within the painting? Or is this a comparison? Miller does not include illustrations, most likely because you are supposed to illustrate this image in your mind. He prods the reader for being insufficient at finding the true meaning of the painting, even though he has outlined it to excess. He prods the reader because as he paints the painting he devalues the reader's capability to understand something as oblique and strange and wonderful as angels. He mocks you in order to make you try harder, sort of the antagonistic father figure: No, I'm afraid you don't! you see only the bleak blue angel frozen by the glaciers. You do not even see the umbrella ribs, because you are not trained to look for umbrella ribs. But you see an angel, and you see a horse's ass. And you may keep them: they are for you! There are no pockmarks on the angel now--only a cold blue spotlight which throws into relief his fallen stomach and his broken arches. The angel is there to lead you to Heaven, where it is all plus and no minus. The angel is there like a watermark, a guarantee of your faultless vision. The angel is there to drop sprigs of parsley in your omelette, to put a shamrock in your buttonhole. I could scrub the mythology out ofthe horse's mane; i could scrub the the yellow out of the Yangtsze Kiang [Yellow River:]; i could scrub the date out of the man in the gondola; i could scrub out the clouds and the tissue paper in which were wrapped the bouquets with forked lightning...But the angel i can't scrub out. The angel is my watermark.In order to get his harrowing cynicism, you have to imagine that Miller lived in a world of disgusting people. As he saw it, the universe was clean in its entropy, in its structured chaos. But men, who deciphered meanings and religiosity from themes, claimed to hold the universe in their hands. That ignorance deserves to be lamented. But how much of a hypocrite should one be in lambasting the species that you are! Miller takes it with a grain of salt, realizing he can not be a crusader against the awful Crusades. So he calls himself a man, spits and beguiles other men, but upholds an image of austerity to the potential of man as well. He celebrates the well-being of man to create this absurd image of himself and emblazon his way through an entirely damaged idea of life. Someone once told me that Miller upholds Camus' idea of the Absurd man terrifically. He is living in Paris, shit poor with nothing to do but survive, but he is the happiest man on Earth. How can this be? Because he realizes the confrontation between himself and the world order is asinine. We will never own anything. So he lives his life as a flower or as a beast, as a genteel savage. He barks at people, he sniffs their crotches and he dances at night when he hears pretty music. He delivers himself as the rose of a person he was meant to be, and under starlight he accomplishes the same innocence as his friend Mele, before she was institutionalized and lost her sense of complacency and fell into madness. Miller realizes that this madness is potential, by falling into the cold dirge of civilization. So he reinterprets the world, draws up his own map, one that barks and yelps and sings, so you can see the world as a relative strait of images, suspended in its own charisma by the dance of connections on a speculative plane. He realizes himself as only a piece of this world, and he places himself as merely a buoy, a shape within the bizarre geography:every living man is a museum that houses the horrors of the race. Each man adds a new wing to the museum. And so, each night, standing before the house in which i live, the house which is being torn down, i try to grasp the meaning of it. the more the insides are exposed the more i get to love my house. I love even the old pisspot which stands under the bed, and which nobody uses any more.

  • Shauna
    2019-04-01 23:28

    In Black Spring Miller reinvents his inward journey, again endlessly listing, rewriting his history, trying to live dozens of lateral lives while mourning his single linear life. "One life! And there are millions and millions of lives to be lived." Like he's astonished a spirit like his is condemned to exist but once, on one patch of land in one chunk of history, so he refuses that fate and writes about everything and anything with an inhuman ferocity. It's a fever dream like Ginsberg's Howl, but it's more sustained. Unlike Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn, Miller flies off the handle, not tethering Black Spring to anything so trite as a timeline or plot. He doesn't really need to, because he'd established himself so firmly in Cancer and Capricorn, that if you're still reading Miller after that, you know what you're in for and chances are you can't get enough.He writes about New York and Paris, about memory, and about the disgusting beauty of a kitchen sink. It's utterly joyous and life-affirming, if half the time nonsensical. Like so much of what Miller wrote, it's dedicated to Anais Nin from the outset. He's not afraid to mention his literary influences including her (who held both romantic and literary sway over him) and his idol Dostoyevsky, and it's his love for literature that always shines through.Miller's what a thousand Palahniuks could never be -- unhinged subversiveness without the uninspiring pessimism. He's like an enhanced Bukowski -- relevant but elevated to something more spiritual. He's uncensored and honest, but it's never for shock value. There will never be another like him.

  • Ahmed
    2019-03-31 19:40

    لا ازال عند رأيي , هذا كتاب يستحق الحقد و القراءة ...كشاطىء يجذبك نحو مصيدة الضحكو تبتسم مع كل دمعة تسقطتخبرك اناملك بأنك ستذهبعلى إطار عينيكعلى ورقة اخرىصوب الثرثرة ... الغريبة .. التي تُسلم بكل شيء و لا شيء ..

  • شاديعبد العزيز
    2019-04-03 19:46

    يستحق مكانا بين 3 ، 4 نقاط كتاب حافل بحيوية غير عاديةحافل بنصوص أقرب لقصائد شعريةميللر: مجنون، وأديب حرفي ممتاز، وغريب، ومعقد، مهووس بالجنس، مريض، وسأقرأ كل ما كتبه

  • ايمان
    2019-04-03 02:46

    ان كنت تبحث عن رواية فهذه ليست رواية,ان كنت تبحث عن سيرة فهذه ليست سيرة كالسير المعتادة,لو كنت تبحث عن هذيان مجنون و رجل يسير مقتحما الأماكن و البشر يكسر كل الجمال بقرف محبب فهذا الكتاب لك .

  • Bart Schaneman
    2019-04-19 00:43

    I could have done with more characters and less philosophy, but this is also Miller at the height of his surreal and madman powers, which is always entertaining. He really was the successor to Whitman, and here he's channelling him with little to no filter. Not his best book, nor his worst.Favorite passage:"Today it is the third or fourth day of spring and I am sitting at the Place Clichy in full sunshine. Today, sitting here in the sun, I tell you it doesn’t matter a damn whether the world is going to the dogs or not; it doesn’t matter whether the world is right or wrong, good or bad. It is -- and that suffices. The world is what it is and I am what I am. I say it not like a squatting Buddha with legs crossed, but out of a gay, hard wisdom, out of an inner security. This out there and this in me, all this, everything, the resultant of inexplicable forces. A chaos whose order is beyond comprehension. Beyond human comprehension."

  • Geoff
    2019-04-13 22:37

    Basically?That Miller is Nabokov, sans plot, wit, playfulness or purpose. Long streams of rarely heard nouns do not a classic make.

  • Stephen B
    2019-03-24 03:41

    Henry Miller is an asshole, and that is what makes him great.

  • Frank Roberts
    2019-04-12 21:40

    “…Henceforward everything moves on shifting levels – our thoughts, our dreams, our actions, our whole life. A parallelogram in which we drop from one platform of our scaffold to another. Henceforward we walk split into myriad fragments, like an insect with a hundred feet, a centipede with soft-stirring feet that drinks in the atmosphere; we walk with sensitive filaments that drink avidly of past and future, and all things melt into music and sorrow; we walk against a united world, asserting our dividedness.”I just reread this book. Having long finished both volumes of Jackass On A Camel a long ways back, I wound up in a writing slump. I needed some sort of recharge and Miller has a way of ionizing an interest in turning bland thoughts into interesting sentences. This book in particular had once altered my idea of writing: turning a simple, entertaining exercise used for writing letters and soused pap smears on bar napkins into a tenuously held belief that I might be able to do it for a living.Matter of fact this book also contained the passage above, one which helped eradicate any doubts I’d been having over my style. Taken alone it almost reads like the overwrought, thick-tongued, lung butter drivel of your average poet. But it sits amid a tract about the ships’ bilge, scabbing pollution, anoxic atmosphere and overall tarnished lust of Brooklyn. And while I feel I’d always been a slow reader because I tend to really envision a book as it gets processed from eye to occipital lobe to wherever the hell else it pings around to in my brain, this chunk of Henry Miller felt like a new multimedia center had opened up inside. I saw actions and lives dropping and shifting over razor planes of his parallelogram, felt myself split like the shrapnel in a kaleidoscope and the sonic whir of the centipede coiled inside my ears. This was how writing is done. Miller took the rainbows from the dazzling horizon, the ones which shimmer in the oily slicks of shit-choked sewers and all the rest in between and married them in an onslaught of beautiful, uncensored language. It resurrected my scribbling ambition – no easy feat considering it had taken a gun in its mouth years before and lost half its head and a ragged scoop of neck in the blast. Writing teachers from Woonsocket High through URI and BU had informed me that you could NOT employ both well-written prose and profane thoughts in the same piece. You were supposed to cloak the unsavory in carefully crafted metaphor, keep it all on the down low or dance all around your idea in some fucking Catholic styled cop out. They’d point to Hemingway and his tedious allusions or even Faulkner – brilliant in his language and far coarser than fat Ernest, but he still failed to address the ugly parts of his tales directly. Was it enough to know that there was a corncob in the barn while Temple Drake was getting raped? Hell no it wasn’t – did it get kicked up her snatch or did it only get whittled into a pipe as she was groped against her wishes? And Faulkner suddenly seemed too squeamish to commit to the idea that she’d been raped at all. These were to be my models for writing? The Canterbury Tales had been assigned to me three times in my various schoolin’ venues and it was comical that none of my teachers ever seemed to notice what a lewd, lowbrow piece of crap that ancient text was. But it wasn’t all that pretty a book anyway. Maybe they were all right in the end. You couldn’t weave the nasty into the wonderful – and that meant that life, as it is, could not be expressed in words. I partially murdered the writing bug and decided to just make my little R-rated circuses into letters to send to friends. One of which prompted my pal, Yella, to draw a comparison to Henry Miller. So I went and bought Black Spring, being the title I’d never heard of, and shaaa-zam! Writing was suddenly a neat idea again. It also began to ruin my tastes in reading, at least as far as fiction goes. Not that Miller is exactly fiction, but he set the bar so high in regards to both compelling stories and stories compellingly told that many of the make-believe tales I’d later read began to taste like unsalted rice paste. I stumbled upon Reinaldo Arenas’ The Palace of the White Skunks shortly after Black Spring and that dazzling Cuban orgy nearly annihilated my ability to sit through any fiction at all – I’m kind of limited to Dr. Seuss and Chester Himes’ shoot ‘em up Harlem crime books now.So, thanks to the reassurances granted by the wild, marvelous and sordid magic of Henry Miller, I’ve been putting my family through the profane experience of a guy taking a serious stab at writing for income. I don’t consider my efforts to be anywhere near what Miller could produce on a bad day. But at least I feel good that I can scribble my stuff in my own way.

  • Dan Newland
    2019-04-08 00:31

    "Black Spring" is the second book in Henry Miller's most famous trilogy (“Tropic of Cancer”, “Black Spring”, “Tropic of Capricorn”), which together form a collection of some of the most original and unique works in contemporary fiction. Written from the mid to late 1930s the three books were banned in English-speaking countries because of their frank and graphic treatment of sex (but also, I can only imagine, because of the socially anarchistic and openly subversive philosophy underlying all of his writing, making the sex as much an excuse as a cause for the censorship). They weren't published in the United States until 1960s. If you haven't read any of Miller's works, I should note that the most obvious difference with traditional fiction is that he, Henry Miller, is the main character in all of them. This has led baffled reviewers and critics to classify his books as everything from "autobiography" to "erotica" and from "surrealistic" to "philosophical". The truth lies somewhere in between all of these attempted descriptions, because what all of Miller's books have in common is that they are simply Miller holding forth and saying whatever happens to be on his mind with absolutely no regard for any traditional rules of any kind. Of all of his entire body of work, Miller said that he set out to place on paper everything that had ever been left out of books. The fact that he carried out this mission with such incredible story-telling skills, such shocking beauty and squalidness, such erudition, intricacy and brutality, and such utter freedom, frankness and underlying joy is what made him one of the greatest writers ever produced by the United States—somewhat to his chagrin and certainly through no fault or effort of the country's own.To my mind, “Black Spring” is, perhaps, Miller's most accomplished work, since it is his most concise book, the one in which he found and perfected his style of wildly eclectic narrative, and the one in which he brilliantly brought together his two most formative environments: his native Brooklyn and his adopted Paris (where he was extraordinarily famous decades before the puritanical English-speaking world would give him his just due).If someone were to say to me, "I'm only going to read one book by Henry Miller before I die, which should it be?" I would say, without hesitation, "Black Spring."

  • reem
    2019-04-08 22:40

    I loved this! I couldn't put it down and felt as if I were in a daze during the last week. The writing was distracted, thought-provoking, and had a very The-Wave-esque tone of articulation. I found a great part of it to be very quotable, beautiful, serene, but crass and unsociable at times. I can't say exactly what Miller hoped to achieve by writing this book, because it was more than anything a series of how he saw the world and the philosophies he attached to his thoughts. There is definitely wisdom and an enviable style of writing here.I'm not sure if the lack of plot would make it desirable for the average reader but I suppose that every book belongs if you have the right mind for it. I'm certain that had I not endured the chaos of The Waves by V. Woolf (and ultimately fell in love with it), I would not have appreciated this brilliant book.

  • Jamie
    2019-04-09 03:37

    If only I could write like this!

  • Sorana
    2019-04-10 19:22

    travel through all the places and still be a misfit; cynical towards big impersonal cities and modern society, until it's all desperate and grotesque and apocalyptic; live in the city anyway and glorify life and all it means, stream of consciousness and everything is very alive and there is no giving up involved, just messy incandescent living at which you turn out to be pretty good, with visions of equal grandeur and decay. i didn't expect this when i expected to like henry miller, it was a fun ride.“Ma aflu acum in centrul unei mari deveniri. Am uitat limba materna si pe cea noua n-o vorbesc inca. Ma aflu in centrul stabil al unei realitati instabile pentru care nici o limba n-a fost inventata.”“Acest moment in expansiune care nu se determina in batai sau pulsatii, aceasta clipa eterna care distruge toate valorile, nuantele, diferentele. Aceasta tasnire verticala dintr-un izvor ascuns. Niciun adevar de rostit, nicio intelepciune de impartasit. O tisnire si o bolboroseala, o spunere catre toti oamenii deodata, de peste tot si in toate limbile. Acum intre dementa si normalitate se afla doar un val subtire. Acum totul este atat de simplu incat parca isi bate joc de tine.”“Niciodata mai mult Dumnezeu decat in multimea fara Dumnezeu. Niciodata mai mult Dumnezeu decat in panica din amurg, cand sira spinarii infiorata de moarte isi telegrafiaza cantecul de iubire prin toti neuronii. Nicicand mai multa singuratate ca in furnicarul de oameni- omul solitar al marelui oras, inconjurat de inventiile sale, cautatorul ratacit pierzandu-se in identitatea comuna. Din disperata solitudine a lipsei de iubire s-a inaltat ultima fortareata, citadela planiforma a lui Dumnezeu, creata dupa modelul labirintului. Din acest ultim refugui nicio scapare decat in sus, spre rai. De aici zburam spre casa, trasand ciudatele cai ale undelor.”“Ai un minus. Tot ce este viu si demn de interes este notat cu minus. In clipa cand gasesti echivalentul plus, constati ca in mana ai doar nimicul. Ai acel ceva momentan, imaginar, numit “echilibru”. Acesta nu e niciodata. E un fals, ca si cum ai opri ceasul sau ai cere un armistitiu. Faci un bilant doar ca sa adaugi o ipotetica greutate, ca sa-ti creezi o ratiune de a exista.”“Cand fiecare lucru e trait pana la capat, nu exista nici moarte, nici regrete, si nici macar o falsa primavara; orice moment trait deschide un orizont mai larg, mai cuprinzator din care nu exista nicio scapare decat in a trai.”“Cu nevinovatie spunea ca ar vrea sa locuiasca la noi. De ce nu putea sta la noi? Si eu ma intrebam asta. De ce nu-i puteau lasa si ei un locsor langa foc unde sa stea si sa viseze, daca asta isi dorea? De ce trebuie sa roboteasca toata lumea- si sfintii si ingerii? De ce trebuie ca nerozii sa fie neaparat un exemplu pentru ceilalti?”“Trebuie sa fii nebun ca sa poti vedea astfel lucrurile, si pe toate deodata. Daca esti o personalitate puternica, vei rezista la incercare si oamenii vor crede in tine, vor face juraminte in numele tau, vor intoarce lumea pe dos pentru tine. Dar daca esti doar un om oarecare, sau un nevolnic, atunci ceea ce ti se intampla ramane fara urmare,se iroseste.”“De acum inainte gata cu insulele pustii. De acum inainte oriunde te nasti e o insula pustie. Fiecare om este propriul sau desert civilizat, insula sinelui pe care naufragiaza: fericirea, relativa sau absoluta, nici nu intra in discutie. De-acum inainte toti fug de ei insisi pentru a gasi o imaginara insula pustie pe care sa-si traiasca visul de Robinson Crusoe.”“...ceea ce m-a impresionat a fost cat de putin conta continutul cartii; conta momentul in care o citisesi, clipa care includea cartea.”“Pe-atunci credeam ca toate evenimentele tragice ale vietii sunt scrise in carti si ceea ce se intampla in afara acestora era doar rahat cu apa rece. Credeam ca o carte frumoasa este o parte bolnava a creierului. Nu-mi dadeam seama ca o lume intreaga se poate imbolnavi.”“Candva credeam ca lucruri minunate ma asteapta. Credeam ca pot inalta o lume in aer, un castel de saliva alba, curata, care sa ma inalte deasupra celei mai inalte cladiri, intre tangibil si intangibil, sa ma instaleze intr-un spatiu precum cel al muzicii, unde totul se surpa si piere, dar unde eu as fi imun, maret, ca un dumnezeu, cel mai sfant dintre sfinti.”“Inca un ratacitor care a aflat patima propriei nelinisti. Iata-ma pe strada, compunandu-mi cantecul. Este cantecul pe care l-am auzit in copilarie, cantecul pe care l-am pierdut in lumea cea noua si pe care nu l-as mai fi regasit daca nu as fi cazut ca o crenguta in oceanul timpului.”“In strada inveti cu adevarat ce sunt fiintele omenesti; altfel, mai tarziu, le inventezi tu.”“Berea avea spuma si oamenii se opreau sa se priveasca unii pe altii.”“Ochii imi sunt inchisi, ii tin stransi ca pe niste valve care se desfac doar ca sa planga.”“Trecem fara sa stim de la o scena la alta, de la o varsta la alta, de la o viata la alta.”“Dimineata ne trezim ca o fiinta unica, iar noaptea plonjam intr-un ocean, ne inecam, tinandu-ne strans de stele si de zbuciumul zilei.”“ timp ce sus pe podul Brooklyn sta un om in agonie, asteptand sa sara sau asteptand sa scrie un poem sau asteptand sa-i curga tot sangele din vine pentru ca, daca ar mai face un pas, durerea dragostei l-ar ucide.”“Acum cusca e deschisa si orincotro ai lua-o, ti se ofera o cale direct spre infinit, o linie dreapta, nebuneasca.”“Sunt orbit de glorioasa prabusire a lumii.”“…dar pana cand mai iesim din pantec cu brate si picioare, si cata vreme deasupra noastra exista stele care ne iau mintile si, sub picioare, iarba care ne odihneste mirarea, tot atata va dainui si acest trup, ca ecou al tuturor refrenelor pe care i le-am canta.” “Ratiunea greseste pentru ca este un instrument prea precis; taisurile se frang in nodurile lemnului de mahon, de cedru si abanos ale unei materii instrainate. Vorbim despre realitate ca si cum ar fi o marime echivalenta, un exercitiu de pian sau o lectie de fizica.”“Mi-am imaginat ca intreaga lume si-ar lua o zi de vacanta pentru a se gandi la electricitatea statica. In acea zi ar fi atat de multe sinucideri incat nu ar ajunge vagoane intregi sa care mortii.”“Sa traiesti dincolo de iluzie sau cu ea? aceasta-i intrebarea.”“All that is transitory is but a metaphor.”- Goethe“Fiecare ev mediu e bun, fie ca e inauntrul omului, fie ca e in istorie.”“Cand aparea molima, ea navalea si in cocioabe si in palat, rupea si oasele moi ale preotilor bogati si pe cele mai tari ale taranilor. Cand duhul lui Dumnezeu se pogora peste Avignon, nu se oprea la Institutul de muzica de peste drum; patrundea prin ziduri, prin trupuri, prin ierarhii de rang si casta. Inflorea la fel de puternic si in cartierul cu lumini rosii, si sus la castelul de pe colina. Papa nu putea sa-si ridice poalele si sa ramana neatins. Si inauntrul si in afara zidurilor era o singura viata: credinta, preacurvie, varsare de sange. Culori primare. Pasiuni elementare. Frescele spun povestea. Felul cum traiau intreaga zi si in fiecare zi vorbeste mai clar decat cartile.”“Ati stat vreodata intr-o gara privind cum isi omoara oamenii timpul? Nu sunt si ei oarecum ca niste ingeri posomorati- cu aceleasi spinari frante si cu stomacurile supte? Cele cateva clipe in care sunt condamnati sa fie singuri cu ei insisi- nu arata oare ei ca si cum ar avea aripile sprijinite in spite de umbrela?”“Un cant fantomatic, nepamantean, se ridica deasupra strazii, ca un barbat cu un satar luptandu-se cu delirium tremens.”“Totul se combina ca intr-un joc de cuburi- chipuri, glasuri, gesturi, trupuri. Fiecare graviteaza pe propria sa orbita.”“...o noapte frumoasa, adanca, linistita, ca si cum sub zapada s-ar ascunde inimi de aur.”“Era ca o pereche de sosete rupte, azvarlite de colo-colo. Mereu te impiedicai de ea.”“Ce dimineata mai e asta ca s-o irosesc intr-un salut? Este ea buna, aceasta dimineata intre dimineti?”“Intreaga mea viata se desfasoara ca o dimineata in care zorii n-au sosit. In fiecare zi o iau de la inceput cu scrisul. In fiecare dimineata se naste o lume noua, distincta si plenara- si iata-mi-s printre constelatii, un zeu infatuat la nebunie de sine insusi, astfel incat nu mai face nimic altceva decat sa cante si sa plamadeasca lumi noi. Intre timp, vechiul univers se faramiteaza.”“Nu era nimic prea greu pentru mine, cu conditia sa fie patruns de durere si chin.”“Suntem mii si mii, si trecem unii pe langa altii fara sa ne recunoastem.”“Asculta, Anna, i-am spus, traiesti intr-o lume imaginara. Lumea nu mai are nevoie de poezii. Lumea are nevoie de paine cu unt. Poti tu sa produci mai multa paine cu unt ?”“In clipa in care-ai scris ceva, poemul inceteaza. Poemul este prezentul pe care nu-l poti lamuri. Il traiesti. Totul poate fi un poem cu conditia sa contina timp.”“Lumea a devenit un labirint mistic ridicat peste noapte de o echipa de tamplari.”“Pe nisip zac imprastiate scoicile omenesti care asteapta pe cineva sa le deschida valvele.”“Nu sunt nici calator, nici aventurier. Toate mi s-au intamplat in timp ce cautam o cale de iesire.”“M-am naravit cu opiul visarii ca sa pot face fata hidoseniei unei vieti in care nu eram implicat. Sunt ca un om care se trezeste dintr-un somn lung doar ca sa descopere ca viseaza.”“... semne ale conflictului perpetuu care are loc intre om si realitate, conflict al carui harta este si aceasta carte.”“Am certitudinea ca sunt zone in care miturile se vor intrupa si se va afla in sfarsit ce anume leaga oamenii necunoscuti care am fost de oamenii necunoscuti care suntem; stiu ca marea deruta a trecutului va fi confirmata de una si mai mare in viitor.”“Intr-o noapte cand nu mai aflu nume pentru obiecte, merg pana la capatul strazii si, ca un om ajuns la limita puterilor, ma arunc in haul care desparte pe cei vii de cei morti.”“S-ar putea crede ca exista o limita a suferintei indurate de trup, dar nu e adevarat. Trupul se inalta cu mult deasupra suferintei si, tocmai atunci cand totul pare a fi murit, mai ramane o unghie de la picior sau un smoc de par, care cresc, si acesti lastari exista in vesnicie.”“Poate aceasta bezna l-a facut sa se gandeasca la pantecele mamei sale si la noaptea care vine, noaptea in care stai de unul singur afara si oricat de infricosator ar fi, trebuie sa stai singur si sa induri.”“Apartin unei orchestre pentru care niciodata n-a fost scrisa vreo simfonie.”“Intotdeauna adormim repede. Incepi cu extazul si sfarsesti pe o alee, topaind ca sa ramai in viata.”“Esti pe punctul de a scrie o carte frumoasa in care vei nota tot ceea ce ti-a provocat durere sau bucurie. Va fi povestea fara rectificari a vietii tale. Toti vor dori sa o citeasca fiindca va cuprinde adevarul absolut, adevarul si numai adevarul.”“Ai dreptate pentru ca tot raul e legat oarecum de incertitudine si ca sa cureti materia moarta nu e suficienta o clisma.”“Seara devreme, cand moartea infioreaza trupul, multimea compacta se misca umar la umar, iar fiecare membru al marii turme e purtat de propria singuratate; piept la piept spre zidurile sinelui, frustrati, izolati, ca niste sardele inghesuite, toti in cautarea deschizatorului de conserve universal.”“Marsaluim pe strazi blanzi si ganditori. Salile de gimnastica sunt deschise si acolo se pot vedea oamenii noi, facuti din burlane si cilindri, miscandu-se dupa harti si diagrame. Oameni noi care nu se vor uza niciodata pentru ca partile din care sunt alcatuiti pot fi mereu inlocuite.”“Si acum imi iau ramas bun de la voi si de la cetatea voastra sfanta. Merg acum sa ma asez pe culmea muntelui si sa astept inca zece mii de ani in timp ce voi luptati sa va ridicati la lumina.”

  • حنان أبو راشد
    2019-04-17 23:49

    - الاحياء يمشون فوق الاموات، يبتسمون طوال الوقت ، ما أقل ما يكلف الابتسام ، ابتسم وسيغدو العالم ملكك، ابتسم وسط خشخشة الموت، فهو يسهل الامر على أولئك الذين تخلفهم وراءك، ابتسم عليك اللعنة ، ابتسامة لا تنتهي- - يجب ان أحافظ على جسدي في حالة يكون فيها مقبولا من الديدان ، يجب أن أحافظ على روحي سليمة لأجل الله.- أما الآن فلم أعد وحيدا، وفي أسوأ الأحوال أكون مع الله- انت تظنين ان القصيدة يجب ان تكون مغلقة،انك بمجرد ان تكتبي شيئا لا يعود هناك قصيدة، القصيدة هي الحاضر الذي لا يمكن تحديده، بل يعاش فقط، كل شئ يمكن ان يكون قصيدة اذا تضمن زمنا ، ليس من الضروري ان تذهبي الى الصين لتكتبي قصيدة، اروع قصيدة عشتها كانت مغسلة مطبخ هل سبق وأخبرتك بهذا؟- لم اتوصل مرة الى رسم توازن، انني دائما ناقص شئ ما، لذا فلدي سبب لاستمر، انني اضع حياتي برمتها في التوازن لكي تنتج لي لا شئ، ولكي تصل الى اللاشئ عليك ان تطرح ارقاما لا متناهية ، هذا هو الامر كله.-- لديك الليل لتحلم فيه ... وضحكة الحصان لوقت النهار.- افكر في صديقي كارل الذي قضى الايام الاربعة الفائتة محاولا البدء بوصف المرأة التي يكتب عنها، يقول (( لا استطيع! لا أستطيع))حسن يقول المجنون ، دعني أنوب عنك في هذا، أبدا!هذا هو الشئ الاساسي، هل نفترض أن انفها ليس معقوفا؟ أم أنه أنف ملائكي علوي؟ ما الفرق؟ عندما تبدأ الصورة بشكل سئ فذلك لانك لا تصف المراة الموجودة في مخيلتك: انك تفكر كثيرا في أولئك الذين سينظرون الى الصورة أكثر من تفكيرك في المرأة التي تنتظرك؟

  • Rupert Owen
    2019-04-14 03:21

    Henry in fine spirits, Black Spring is a collection of works seeded together and wrapped up in Miller's later years, the final novel in the Tropics series. Very close in some parts to Lawrence Durrell's The Black Book, which I am to think influenced Miller, as there are some aspects that are too glucose for Henry's regular style. I just let Millers timeless rants flood me, not worrying too much if my mind wandered, I'd always return back to some part which managed to pull me in deep within the bowels of Henry's mirth at a downcast and sodden world, a world which for all its diseases is eternally Spring. Some great moments including Henry's observations on French urinals and the art of peeing, the poet Jabberwhorl Cronstadt seeing everything and literally including the kitchen sink as poetry, erections whilst listening to Wagner, but as usual I find some of Henry's self reflecting rants as tiresome as my own. Henry Miller has a habit of really pushing the point of who he is under certain phases of mood and perspective, and he labors the point, but Henry gets so caught up in all this, he has to and wants to do it, I imagine less for the sake of the reader but more for the sake of himself.

  • Dan Grible
    2019-04-01 01:26

    Henry Miller, the master of prose and unbelievably evocative imagery. It's not what you know, it's experience, it's how you make sense of the reality that you've been thrown into that Miller successfully expounds. Life is an overwhelmingly subjective experience. Not to deny the presence of an objective reality but, to accept and unflinchingly acknowledge the simple fact that we don't all think, feel, and experience this world in the same way but, to the contrary, all of our experiences are all wholly our own. I have some stellar memories reading various passages of this incredible work of prose in Sheung Wan outside of a bicycle repair show and within my cramped apartment in Guangzhou, escaping the violently indifferent world surrounding me.Although it drags at parts, which I suspect Miller wrote merely just because he could, the last third is suffused with some of the most mind-bogglingly emotive, surreal, and downright bizarre imagery I've experienced in the written art-form. Truly irreplaceable.

  • Greg
    2019-04-15 03:48

    This one sucked me in the way Miller's books always do. It's hard to wrap your brain around what he's doing, but once you dive in and let go of what you think a novel ought to be, you just can't get enough.I do get tired of the racial and ethnic slurs, but I guess that's part of his honesty. Still, some of it's pretty shocking by today's standards. And after a while, it's just annoying; we get it, man.There's a great Web site,, that is an excellent guide to Miller's years in Paris. It shows you where to go in Paris to see the places he lived, hung out in, and wrote about. Seeing pictures of the cafes and apartments really helps flesh things out. Plus it shows just how meticulous he was about putting in real details of his life.

  • David
    2019-04-09 20:29

    I hadn't read any Miller in a while so I got an urge to go and read some more. In hindsight, I think it would have been better to just go back and read one of his other books that I've already read. This one has some great images, some great tumbling language, some great twisting and turning motion that shifts and switches endlessly, but it felt a lot like the other five books of his that I'd read. I guess it's just gotten a little old.

  • Corneliu Dascalu
    2019-04-13 23:38

    Dense and difficult to decipher. The writing style reveals the talent of the writer, his craftsmanship of words. But this style is also making it difficult to follow an idea from start to end.Overall, "Black Spring" emanates a lot of hate and disdain for the world the author is forced to live in, in which he doesn't fit.

  • Lavinia
    2019-04-22 22:41

    After being so impressed by Tropic of Cancer, I thought everything I was going to read would be equally good. Well, I guess I was wrong. Shouldn't have bothered.

  • Feras AlMassarani
    2019-04-05 21:23

    هذه تجربتي الثانية مع هنري ميللر، وشعرت بالضجر نفسه وأنا أقرأه. أعادني عامين إلى الخلف عندما قرأت له كتابه عن الشاعر الفرنسي رامبو. هنري ميللر بارع في إعطائك بعد كل شوط من الضجر ما بين عبارتين وست عبارات ممتعة تجعلك تبتسم، لكن هذا لا يكفي. كما أن في سرده شيء من النرسيسية المزعجة، تستطيع شمها.