Monday, August 25

Henry Miller, Brooklyn Hater


"Henry Miller was one of those rare writers who actively and energetically hated New York, calling it late in life 'that old shithole, New York, where I was born.' A famously restless product of what was then the 14th Ward, Miller returned—ruefully—to the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn in his novel Tropic of Capricorn. 'I saw a street called Myrtle Avenue,' Miller wrote, 'which runs from Borough Hall to Fresh Pond Road, and down this street no saint ever walked (else it would have crumbled), down this street no miracle ever passed, nor any poet, nor any species of human genius, nor did any flower ever grow there, nor did the sun strike it squarely, nor did the rain ever wash it… Dear reader, you must see Myrtle Avenue before you die, if only to realize how far into the future Dante saw.' That Myrtle Avenue cuts at least partly through the borough of Queens is small consolation, for it is clear that Brooklyn is the target of Miller’s loathing."
New Yorker
Big Sur Brooklyn Bridge

2010 March: Dinner With Henry (1979), 2011 December: Asleep & Awake (1975), 2013 April: Henry Miller.

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