17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
As Luminous As Suns that shine in the rain,
This review is from: Wisdom of the Heart (New Directions Paperbook) (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. Henry Miller says nothing here either more offensive or less insightful than these three Transcendentalists who lived before him.
Including some of Henry Miller's best-known writings, here are essays on Raimu, the film star; Brassi, the photographer; Erich Gutkind, the metaphysician -- who Miller puts, like Lawrence, in the line of "Akhenaton, Hermes Trismegistus, Plotinus, Paracelsus, Blake, Neitzsche: he is a visionary, a prophet, a man ahead of his time." In "Reflections on Writing," Miller examines his own position as a writer. In "Seraphita" and "Balzac and His Double," he applies himself to the work of another writer.
In short, throughout this wisdom book, there is an illuminating spiritual unity in the deep diversity and high hilarity, at once, reconciling sacred and profane, regenerating love -- always fearless, always totally alive with the joy of living the examined life -- open-hearted and generous to all who have ears to hear. As Joseph Campbell so aptly encouraged, "Bless Thy Bliss."
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Initial post: Sep 23, 2012 4:39:11 AM PDT
Excellent review. Thanks!
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