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Wisdom of the Heart (New Directions Paperbook) Paperback – January 17, 1960


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Frequently Bought Together

Wisdom of the Heart (New Directions Paperbook) + Stand Still Like the Hummingbird (New Directions Paperbook) + Henry Miller on Writing (New Directions Paperbook)
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Product Details

  • Series: New Directions Paperbook (Book 94)
  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing (January 17, 1960)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811201163
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811201162
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,692 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

HENRY MILLER (1891-1980) was an American writer and painter infamous for breaking with existing literary forms and developing a new sort of "novel" that is a mixture of novel, autobiography, social criticism, philosophical reflection, surrealist free association, and mysticism, one that is distinctly always about and expressive of the real-life Henry Miller and yet is also fictional. His most characteristic works of this kind are "Tropic of Cancer," "Tropic of Capricorn," and "Black Spring." His books were banned in the United States for their lewd content until 1964 when a court ruling overturned this order, acknowledging Miller's work as literature in what became one of the most celebrated victories of the sexual revolution.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Michail Kyril on July 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
An exquisite journey into a mind and heart open for all to join and be the quest. Reminiscent of his equally stimulating companion volume, STAND STILL LIKE THE HUMMINGBIRD, this selection of stories and essays shows again the wide range of mood, style and subject matter which Henry Miller's work commands. As Lawrence Durrell once wrote, "I suspect that Henry Miller's final place will be among those towering anomalies of authorship like Whitman or Blake who have left us, not simply works of art, but a corpus of ideas which motivate and influence a whole cultural pattern."
Here is a man who, however brief was their intercourse, was wed to Hollywood icon, Marilyn Monroe (just kidding, in Henry's dreams maybe, but NOT, that was the other Miller, the playwright, Arthur). Here is a man expressing himself with exhilarating candor and freedom, writing "from the heart" which a refreshing lack of reticence. Miller involves the reader directly in his thoughts and feelings. "His real aim," Karl Shapiro has written, "is to find the living core of our world whenever it survives and in whatever manifestation, in art, in literature, in human behavior itself. It is then that he sings, praises, and shouts at the top of his lungs with the uncontainable hilarity he is famous for."
Whether Miller lifts up D. H. Lawrence as in "Creative Death" and "Into the Future," or expounds the philosophy of the psychoanalyst, E. Graham Howe as in "The Wisdom of the Heart," or honors Keyserling on the occasion of his 60th birthday in July 1940 as in "The Philosopher Who Philosophizes," his genius is immutable. If you have read, even occasionally, Henry David (Thoreau), Ralph Waldo (Emerson), Uncle Walt (Whitman), this volume is for you.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Books and Things on August 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
Henry Miller often provokes many emotions in people. Depending on the book or books that they have read. I've always loved his collection of essays, "Stand Still Like the Hummingbird". So, I couldn't wait to finally get my hands on a copy of this book, "Wisdom of the Heart".

The first three essays in the book were quite good and got me hooked. Essentially they were about his philosophy that you must lose something of yourself to find something. To embrace the pain to find the pleasure. Right on track on his writing of my other favorite book from him.

Unfortunately after those brilliant essays, he turned back into that angry man who I met briefly in "Tropic of Cancer". That was a book I really couldn't get into. After a while the anger took over and it was hard to read the philosophy in what he was trying to say. All you felt was anger. So, needless to say I became quickly disenchanted with several of the essays after, "Reflections on Writing". I was hoping it wasn't the only 3 essays that I would like. So, with trepidation, I kept reading.

He finally got back to the writing I've come to really like when I read, "Into the Future". He was back to speculating on artistic life by comparing DH Lawrence's concept of the Holy Ghost with those in history that personify it. It basically asks the question that do artists have to suffer for their art? Is it a necessity? Although Miller seems to have answered it to his satisfaction, I'm not sure he has done so to my satisfaction but I did enjoy his journey into the question.

In the end he explores Balzac and what he considers to be one of his pinnacle works. His essays just didn't have the same flair and philosophy I had come to expect from Miller.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D. Musicant on August 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
I started with the Rosy Crucifixion (Sexus, then Plexus and finally Nexus) and then went on to his collections of essays, including The Wisdom of the Heart and Stand Still Like the Hummingbird. Henry Miller has been a major influence in my life by virtue of these readings. I have read most or all of The Wisdom of the Heart more than once, and the essay which gives the book its title concerning the writer/psychiatrist E. Gordon Howe is one I come back to again and again for inspiration.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
I first purchased Tropic of Cancer prior to this book, but had not yet read it, when I came across this collection of essays and stories. I enjoyed it so very much. Reading his essays gave me great insight into who Henry Miller was, and I was able to start Tropic of Cancer with a better understanding of his writing style. It enabled me to better appreciate his writing and understand his significance as a writer. Tropic of Cancer is highly erratic, reading "Wisdom of the Heart" allowed me to understand that this is what Miller would be like and I was ready to embrace him, after coming away from "Wisdom" with a sense of what his philosophies are like. Some of the stories are admittedly trite and the book's entire collection is somewhat ragged, but certain writings really shone, and Miller's philosophies rang loud and clear throughout everything. An excellent read for someone who is curious about Miller the man and not yet ready to embark upon the Tropics.
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