July 30th, 2007

Henry Miller re new Dark Ages

Found some good solid desespoir in a letter by Henry Miller to Max Frankel, included as a preface in the 1936 edition of the latter’s novel Bastard Death.
Miller wrote:

“Today the great majority are unaware that their relationship to the world about is false, and hence dead. Even more flagrantly true is this of the artists in our midst. They are not sufficiently oriented to theinsane logic which rules the day. They continue blithely composing their little pieces, their nocturnes, their mazurkas, their polkas, their schottisches. Each day brings a train of fresh calamities which leave them untouched except in the reportorial centers. Each day the ranks are swelled, each day the reading public grows larger. At the heart is a despair never known before. A handful of men, the truly creative spirits of our time, find it difficult to capture an audience of even a hundred. And so, by a strange paradox, we have in this most modern age a condition reminiscent of the Middle Ages, though without the benefit of salvation.

“We have entered into the creation of a myth and we leave it to future mythologists to unravel. And so, my dear Frankel, taking Bastard Death warmly by the hand, I go down with you into the tomb to await the hour of resurrection.”

Henry Miller, November 15, 1935, in Paris

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