The Unknown Henry Miller

  • by Arthur Hoyle
  • Narrated by Jonathan Yen
  • 15 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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 "Paris" books - beginning with Tropic of Cancer - 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 Miller'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 Miller's correspondence in order to offer the listener direct experience of the author and man. It also draws on material not available to previous biographers, including interviews with Lepska Warren, Miller's third wife, and revelations from unpublished portions of Anais Nin's diaries. Behind the "bad boy" 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 Miller'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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

thorough look at Miller; engaging narrator

I was more familiar with Henry Miller as an artist than an author, so it was interesting to discover all of what made up the person and his creative force. Since I think of him as prolific in his works, I found it remarkable that he lived so much of his life on a shoestring - getting by on a series of handouts from people around him that appreciated either Henry Miller the man or the author (or both). The paintings through which I knew him were really only a secondary pursuit, born out of the need to make ends meet.

The narrator is very easy to listen to, and was obviously immersed in the book himself. Because of the previous review, I was wary - but I thought he handled foreign words fine. If there was sometimes a slight differentiation in the reading of those words, I thought it only served to offer them up as unique, highlighting for the (most likely American) listener that there's something special about where and with whom this noteworthy author and artist spent his life.
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- Tom

why aren't narrators taught how to pro-nounce

well if i had recalled that the same Mr Yen had narrated "spillover" i still would have bought as i consider Henry Miller one of the last centuries most important---and fascinating authors.

that said it is painful while the narrator slows down and tries to accentuate a usually mispronounced name or place/ this was produced by our own "audible studios'--come on audible--someone help these narrators....

that said, the book is excellent so far but i take it slowly/ see reviews for " spillover" for similar narrator problems/
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- alan

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-04-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios