About This Author

Henry Miller

Miller in 1940
Miller in 1940

Born

Henry Valentine MillerDecember 26, 1891 Yorkville, Manhattan, New York, U.S.

Died

June 7, 1980 Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Occupation

Writer

Nationality

American

Period

1934–80

Genre

Roman à clef, philosophical fiction

Notable works

Tropic of Cancer Black Spring Tropic of Capricorn The Colossus of Maroussi The Rosy Crucifixion

Spouse

Beatrice Sylvas Wickens ( m.  1917; div.  1924)
June Miller ( m.  1924; div.  1934)
Janina Martha Lepska ( m.  1944; div.  1952)
Eve McClure ( m.  1953; div.  1960)
Hiroko Tokuda ( m.  1967; div.  1977)

Children

3

Signature

Henry Valentine Miller was an American writer. He was known for breaking with existing literary forms and developing a new type of semi-autobiographical novel that blended character study, social criticism, philosophical reflection, stream of consciousness, explicit language, sex, surrealist free association, and mysticism. His most characteristic works of this kind are Tropic of Cancer, Black Spring, Tropic of Capricorn and The Rosy Crucifixion trilogy, which are based on his experiences in New York and Paris . He also wrote travel memoirs and literary criticism, and painted watercolors.

Miller was born at his family's home, 450 East 85th Street, in the Yorkville section of Manhattan, New York City. He was the son of Lutheran German parents, Louise Marie and tailor Heinrich Miller. As a child, he lived for nine years at 662 Driggs Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, known at that time as the Fourteenth Ward. In 1900, his family moved to 1063 Decatur Street in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. After finishing elementary school, although his family remained in Bushwick, Miller attended Eastern District High School in Williamsburg. As a young man, he was active with the Socialist Party of America . He attended the City College of New York for one semester.

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Discover Henry Miller Quotes and Sayings

In this age, which believes that there is a short cut to everything, the greatest lesson to be learned is that the most difficult way is, in the long run, the easiest. - Henry Miller

In this age, which believes that there is a short cut to everything, the greatest lesson to be learned is that the most difficult way is, in the long run, the easiest.

Henry Miller

age
An artist is always alone - if he is an artist. No, what the artist needs is loneliness. - Henry Miller

An artist is always alone - if he is an artist. No, what the artist needs is loneliness.

Henry Miller

art alone
The waking mind is the least serviceable in the arts. - Henry Miller

The waking mind is the least serviceable in the arts.

Henry Miller

art
Art is only a means to life, to the life more abundant. It is not in itself the life more abundant. It merely points the way, something which is overlooked not only by the public, but very often by the artist himself. In becoming an end it defeats itself. - Henry Miller

Art is only a means to life, to the life more abundant. It is not in itself the life more abundant. It merely points the way, something which is overlooked not only by the public, but very often by the artist himself. In becoming an end it defeats itself.

Henry Miller

art
When one is trying to do something beyond his known powers it is useless to seek the approval of friends. Friends are at their best in moments of defeat. - Henry Miller

When one is trying to do something beyond his known powers it is useless to seek the approval of friends. Friends are at their best in moments of defeat.

Henry Miller

best
The great work must inevitably be obscure, except to the very few, to those who like the author himself are initiated into the mysteries. Communication then is secondary: it is perpetuation which is important. For this only one good reader is necessary. - Henry Miller

The great work must inevitably be obscure, except to the very few, to those who like the author himself are initiated into the mysteries. Communication then is secondary: it is perpetuation which is important. For this only one good reader is necessary.

Henry Miller

work communication
In the attempt to defeat death man has been inevitably obliged to defeat life, for the two are inextricably related. Life moves on to death, and to deny one is to deny the other. - Henry Miller

In the attempt to defeat death man has been inevitably obliged to defeat life, for the two are inextricably related. Life moves on to death, and to deny one is to deny the other.

Henry Miller

death
The Teutons have been singing the swan song ever since they entered the ranks of history. They have always confounded truth with death. - Henry Miller

The Teutons have been singing the swan song ever since they entered the ranks of history. They have always confounded truth with death.

Henry Miller

truth history death
All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous unpremeditated act without benefit of experience. - Henry Miller

All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous unpremeditated act without benefit of experience.

Henry Miller

experience
No matter how vast, how total, the failure of man here on earth, the work of man will be resumed elsewhere. War leaders talk of resuming operations on this front and that, but man's front embraces the whole universe. - Henry Miller

No matter how vast, how total, the failure of man here on earth, the work of man will be resumed elsewhere. War leaders talk of resuming operations on this front and that, but man's front embraces the whole universe.

Henry Miller

work war failure
Back of every creation, supporting it like an arch, is faith. Enthusiasm is nothing: it comes and goes. But if one believes, then miracles occur. - Henry Miller

Back of every creation, supporting it like an arch, is faith. Enthusiasm is nothing: it comes and goes. But if one believes, then miracles occur.

Henry Miller

faith
Why are we so full of restraint? Why do we not give in all directions? Is it fear of losing ourselves? Until we do lose ourselves there is no hope of finding ourselves. - Henry Miller

Why are we so full of restraint? Why do we not give in all directions? Is it fear of losing ourselves? Until we do lose ourselves there is no hope of finding ourselves.

Henry Miller

hope fear
There is nothing strange about fear: no matter in what guise it presents itself it is something with which we are all so familiar that when a man appears who is without it we are at once enslaved by him. - Henry Miller

There is nothing strange about fear: no matter in what guise it presents itself it is something with which we are all so familiar that when a man appears who is without it we are at once enslaved by him.

Henry Miller

fear
Every man has his own destiny: the only imperative is to follow it, to accept it, no matter where it leads him. - Henry Miller

Every man has his own destiny: the only imperative is to follow it, to accept it, no matter where it leads him.

Henry Miller

future
Los Angeles gives one the feeling of the future more strongly than any city I know of. A bad future, too, like something out of Fritz Lang's feeble imagination. - Henry Miller

Los Angeles gives one the feeling of the future more strongly than any city I know of. A bad future, too, like something out of Fritz Lang's feeble imagination.

Henry Miller

imagination future
Imagination is the voice of daring. If there is anything Godlike about God it is that. He dared to imagine everything. - Henry Miller

Imagination is the voice of daring. If there is anything Godlike about God it is that. He dared to imagine everything.

Henry Miller

imagination god