“I knew Henry Miller…I drank at Nepenthe with Henry Miller…and you, Bill Burroughs…are no Henry Miller” (sic)

If it’s one thing we don’t do here at the HML blog, it’s pick fights.

That said, when we say this article comparing Burroughs, on the 100th anniversary of his birth, to Henry Miller, we couldn’t help but think of this classic exchange:

Specifically, the author talks about how folks perceive “Naked Lunch” as a logical extension of Miller’s Tropics….

Money quote 1:

william-s-burroughs“I have seen it stated several times that Naked Lunch is, so to speak, Miller’s Tropics carried a stage further.

In fact, they are writers of entirely opposite tendency. Miller is an affirmative writer. He preaches incessantly, and his “message,” boiled down to its essentials, is that happiness is attainable by anyone who sheds his responsibilities and lives by impulse, never doing anything that he doesn’t feel exactly like doing at that moment.

The “I” of Henry Miller’s writings, who may or may not bear any close relationship to the author, is a figure who has achieved complete liberation from the hampering ties of daily life, and as a result has broken through into a dimension where existence seems to comprise nothing but epiphanies.”

Money quote 2:

“What is more, Miller has developed a style that is very well fitted for this continual act of celebration. He writes a hurrying, turbulent prose that gives the impression of complete spontaneity, but only the most naive reader will imagine that such prose can be produced without a great deal of hard work.

4119968413_14f22c7548_mThe rhythms never get out of hand, the pauses are varied with considerable skill, and the words are chosen with great effectiveness. If this is anti-art, it is at least not anti-craft. George Orwell, in his classic essay on Miller (“Inside the Whale,” 1940) declared that Miller’s books “give you an idea of what can still be done, even at this late date, with English prose.”

Read the whole thing including the reader Comment like this:!

An absolutely horrible review by a book critic, who is even more clueless than Bob Dylan’s Mr Jones, just demonstrates how pedestrian the TNR can really be when it comes to insights into the culture.*

* (Ed) The commentor should have at least explained why the writer was pedestrian.

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