Synopses & Reviews
Henry Miller was one of the most distinctive voices in twentieth-century literature. Better known in Europe than in his native America for most of this career, he achieved international success and celebrity during the 1960s when his banned and#147;Parisand#8221; booksand#151;beginning with Tropic of Cancer
and#151;were published here and judged by the Supreme Court not to be obscene. Until then he had toiled in relative obscurity and poverty. The Unknown Henry Miller recounts Millerand#8217;s career from its beginnings in Paris in the 1930s but focuses on his years living in Big Sur, California, from 1944 to 1961, during which he wrote many of his most important books, including The Rosy Crucifixion
trilogy, married and divorced twice, raised two children, painted watercolors, and tried to live out an aesthetic and personal credo of self-realization.
Written with the cooperation of the Henry Miller, Anais Nin, and other estates, The Unknown Henry Miller quotes extensively from Millerand#8217;s correspondence in order to offer the reader direct experience of the author and man. It also draws on material not available to previous biographers, including interviews with Lepska Warren, Millerand#8217;s third wife, and revelations from unpublished portions of Anais Ninand#8217;s diaries. Behind the and#147;bad boyand#8221; image, the author finds a man with devoted friendships, whose challenge of literary sexual taboos was part of a broader assault on the dehumanization of man and commercialization during the postwar years. He puts Millerand#8217;s alleged misogyny in the context of his satire of sexual mores in general, and makes the case for restoring this groundbreaking writer to his rightful place in the American literary canon.
and#147;The best book ever written about my father.and#8221; and#151;Tony Miller
and#147;The Unknown Henry Miller is a fascinating book, filled with insight and revelations. If you are passionate about Miller's work, this book will deepen your understanding. And if you aren't very familiar with Millerand#8217;s life and writings, Hoyle will make you want to rush to read him now.and#8221;
and#151;Will Schwalbe, author of the New York Times bestseller The End of Your Life Book Club
"The Unknown Henry Miller is a must read for those who thought they knewand#151;and those who know nothingand#151;about the shocking Tropic of Cancer genius who pushed the censorial envelope to make readers think about what is obscenity and why. Arthur Hoyle has expertly penetrated the Miller myth to analyze his prodigious body of work and the underpinnings of Miller's attitudes toward women, beginning with his ruinous mother."
and#151;Myra MacPherson, author of the award-winning All Governments Lie and the forthcoming The Scarlet Sisters: Sex Suffrage and Scandal in the Gilded Age.
and#147;Arthur Hoyle has written an excellent introduction to Henry Miller, the great liberator. He knew that one has to go through the body to find the soul.and#8221;
and#151;Erica Jong, best-selling author of Fear of Flying
and#147;Arthur Hoyle has delivered on his promise to reveal the and#145;unknownand#8217; Henry Miller. On every page there is unexpected data, nuggets of facts unearthed by his deep and extensive research (especially about Miller's time here in Big Sur), wonderful new insights, or familiar insights freshly turned. Above all, this is a smart biography. Written with a passionate drive, The Unknown Henry Miller is a page-turner, and I look forward to the discussions and commentary that are sure to follow. Thank you, Arthur!and#8221;
and#151;Magnus Torand#233;n, Executive Director, Henry Miller Memorial Library Inc.
and#147;Comprehensive . . . An in-depth and original exploration of the insecurities behind [Millerand#8217;s] famed bravado . . . The Unknown Henry Miller is at its most revealing when it weighs Millerand#8217;s Whitman- and Thoreau-inspired philosophy against this vulnerability, and particularly his struggle to cope with the demands of domestic adult life. . . . Miller appears in real rather than canonized form, impressive for his commitment to a rare aesthetic and philosophical vision but necessarily a source both of frustration and affection for his friends, lovers and readers.and#8221;and#151;Times Literary Supplement
"Miller's oeuvre is available for the seeker bold enough to venture beyond the boundaries of convention. . . . And Hoyle's The Unknown Henry Miller: A Seeker in Big Sur is the perfect trailhead." and#151;Santa Barbara Independent
and#147;A refreshing biography . . . Hoyle offers generous interpretations of Millerand#8217;s work.and#8221; and#151;Kirkus Reviews
"An admiring biography of the novelist, who turned the events and people of his life into fiction.and#8221; and#151;Library Journal
About the Author
Arthur Hoyle is an educator, writer, independent filmmaker, and communications professional. His documentary films have won awards and aired on PBS, and he has received a National Endowment for the Humanities grant for a documentary script on American social philosopher Thorstein Veblen. He has taught English, coached tennis, and served as an administrator in independent schools. He lives in Pacific Palisades, California.