Miller, Henry, 1891–1980, American author, b. New York City. Miller sought to reestablish the freedom to live without the conventional restraints of civilization. His books are potpourris of sexual description, quasiphilosophical speculation, reflection on literature and society, surrealistic imaginings, and autobiographical incident. After living in Paris in the 1930s, he returned to the United States and settled in Big Sur, Calif. Miller's first two works, Tropic of Cancer (Paris, 1934) and Tropic of Capricorn (Paris, 1939), were denied publication in the United States because of alleged obscenity until a landmark legal decision (1961) overturned the ban. The Colossus of Maroussi (1941), a travel book of modern Greece, is considered by some critics his best work. His other writings include the Rosy Crucifixion Trilogy— Sexus (1949), Plexus (1953), and Nexus (1960).
See his selected writings in N. Mailer, ed., Genius and Lust (1976); his autobiography, My Life and Times (1972); memoir by K. Winslow (1986); biographies by J. Miller (1978) and R. Ferguson (1991); W. A. Gordon, The Mind and Art of Henry Miller (1967), E. B. Mitchell, ed., Henry Miller (1971), N. Mailer, Black Messiah (1981), F. Turner, ed. Into the Heart of Life: Henry Miller at One Hundred (1991) and as author Renegade: Henry Miller and the Making of "Tropic of Cancer" (2011).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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