Genius and Lust: A Journey through the Major Writings of Henry Miller. New York: Grove, October. Anthology with critical commentary, 576 pp., $12.50.
Dedication: “to Henry Miller.” Contains excerpts from 10 of Miller’s books—Black Spring, Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn, Sexus, Nexus and Plexus, Sunday after the War, The Colossus of Maroussi, Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch and The Air-Conditioned Nightmare—and 88 pages, in a foreword and nine sections, of commentary by Mailer, comprising his lengthiest piece of literary criticism. The book jacket drawing of Miller is by Norris Church Mailer, his sixth wife. Discarded titles: “Mailer on Miller”; “The Cosmic Demon.”
Rpt: Part of section 2 of Mailer’s commentary appeared in 76.3; all of sections 2, 3 and 4, with a few changes, appeared in 76.4. Pieces and Pontifications (82.16) contains two excerpts: parts of the foreword and sections 1 and 2 appear as “Miller and Hemingway”; the last two-thirds of section 4, “Narcissism,” appears under the same title. Two excerpts, pp. 3-10 and 173-94, appear as “Status” and “Narcissism,” respectively, in Critical Essays on Henry Miller, edited by Ronald Gottesman. New York: G.K. Hall, 1992, brief excerpt in 13.1. See 66.14, 68.11, 77.11.
One had to go back to Melville to find a rhetoric which could prove as noble under full sail. Indeed one has to ask oneself if Miller could not out-write Melville if it came to describing a tempest at sea. Miller at his best wrote a prose grander than Faulkner’s and wilder—the good reader is revolved in a farrago of light with words heavy as velvet, brilliant as gems, eruptions of thought cover the page. You could be in the vortex of one of [Joseph] Turner’s oceanic holocausts when the sun shines in the very center of the storm. No, there is nothing like Henry Miller when he gets rolling. (76.12)