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Black Spring [Paperback]

Henry Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

21 Jun 2012
Written during the same period as Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn, and banned in the English-speaking world upon its publication in Paris in 1936, Black Spring is one of Miller's finest achievements, and arguably his most distinguished book from a stylistic point of view. It consists of a number of linked episodes describing some of the crucial years in his personal saga, from recollections of his childhood in Brooklyn to his time in Paris.


Product details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Alma Classics (21 Jun 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847492622
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847492623
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 510,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Review

'American literature today begins and ends with the meaning of what Miller has done.' --Lawrence Durrell

'I like Henry Miller. I think he's the greatest American writer' --Bob Dylan

'There is nothing like Henry Miller when he gets rolling... One has to take the English language back to Marlowe and Shakespeare before encountering a wealth of imagery equal in intensity... a wildwater of prose, a cataract, a volcano, a torrent, an earthquake... a writer finally like a great athlete, a phenomenon of an avatar of literary energy.' --Norman Mailer

About the Author

Banned for much of the author's lifetime, and notorious afterwards, the works of Henry Miller (1891 - 1980) have left an indelible mark on subsequent American authors such as Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing black about this richly coloured book 16 July 2009
By A Common Reader TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
It is always a pleasure to read a new edition from One World Classics, particularly when the title is one I've not read before. Black Spring was written between Miller's more well-known Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn and while it has not gained the stature of the other books, it is well worth a read in its own right.

First published in 1936, the book consists of ten almost independent (though linked) episodes covering Miller's early life in Brooklyn and the period when he was writing in Paris.

The Wikipedia description of Miller's writing applies perfectly to this book: "mixture of novel, autobiography, social criticism, philosophical reflection, surrealist free association, and mysticism". I have little doubt that while the work may be rooted in personal experience, this is more like an excursion from the bare bones of Miller's existence than a verifiable memoir rooted in the real-world.

The book was banned in the English-speaking world when it was first published in Paris, but the modern reader will again be surprised at what shocked earlier generations for there is nothing particularly salacious in it to the modern mind.

Much of this book is set in Paris and Miller seems to transform this busy, commercial capital into an almost mystical place. Never more so in fact than in the chapter, Walking Up and Down in China, where Miller experiences Paris as China, with its Great Wall of streets and boulevards which he wanders through and lives out a Chinese life, an incomprehensible opium-inspired dream of "a man who wakes from a long sleep to find he is dreaming".

Like so many before him, Miller wanders all over the city creating wonderful word pictures from typical Parisian scenes.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  24 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary book without time 20 July 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Excuse me for my bad English: I'm Italian and I don't speak English. I have found Black Spring completely different from Tropics of Cancer: this is blood, sex and hunger, without thinking (so appear, naturally), that is remember and philosophy, a wondereful mix. Miller is a hard man, and like all the hard men, he is also an hopeless romantic.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating collection by a great American author. 7 Aug 1996
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
One of Miller's earliest books,and considered to be the
second in the Tropics trilogy, this is a collection of
short sketches (for lack of a better term) by a young Henry
Miller using the mature writer's voice that makes him such
a powerful speaker. With pieces like "The Angel is My
Watermark", a hilarious self-portrait of Miller in Paris
suffering an excess of artistic inspiration, to a tender
reminiscence of his father's New York tailor shop, this
book contains a side to Henry Miller rarely seen through
the publicity but known to his careful readers; a side
that is philosophical, spiritual, and funny. It remains
one of Miller's best and most enduring books.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Spring -- my first Henry Miller novel 13 Aug 2006
By Darius Miranda - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I just finished reading BLACK SPRING. It blew me away. Henry Miller's storytelling style is so personal, it's kind of like taking an unexpected medium punch in the gut. The geography becomes local, the imagery is rough, obscene and poetic, and goes on for pages at a time. Miller becomes larger than life, powerful through his honesty and vulnerability. I am amazed with his unique ability to effortlessly paint such vivid pictures, wander aimlessly through haunting nightmares, and relive pleasure and passion. From sitting around in the Parisian home of friend Jabberewohl Crondstadt celebrating each other's conquests and madness, to wandering the dark bum-piss hooker-lined streets of forbidden America, I found myself constantly stopping, re-reading and wondering how he took me there. Eventually I stopped raising my hand to ask questions, and just sat back and listened.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where you find the real writer behind all the sexy fuss... 30 Nov 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
These stories have in my view some of the best English language prose that was written in the 20th century. A "voice" runs through them, that takes words and carefully crafts them into meaning, so beautifully written it is almost painful. Of course the quality of the stories is somewhat uneven, two or three really stand out, but I find it a marvellous collection overall. An unexpected must-read!
19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Madness, Streams of Consciousness, and Miller's Cosmos... 28 Aug 2000
By yygsgsdrassil - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"I am dazzled by the glorious collapse of the world."
....some vignettes here start out pretty innocent here but once Henry Miller gets a figurative and literal bug up his-- he waxes and waxes and waxes poetically (a lot of times in alliteration) about life, death and the cosmos. He and Bukowski are my favorite derelict writers, I feel I always get something from them although their story-telling is not always linear. And I love to read them both aloud. Why, when Henry really starts these tirades, sometimes its best to have an unabridged dictionary on hand. All the previous reviewers seem to like the recounting of Henry in the pissoire. My favorite piece is the hilarious and poignant "Jabberwhorl ("But it must be in the key of C") Crondstadt" who turns out to have a refugee sanctuary and who's own illness (abated by cognac and cayenne) exposes to Henry something about madness and art and creation. It simply must be read aloud for appreciation. Henry Miller is not evvybody's glass of absinthe, but for me, he is great...like he says, "What is not in the open street is false, that is derived, that is, literature" I have not been everywhere he has, but I have been where he has been a lot and most of his writings, even those which are way too funky to decipher are fun and enjoyable to read in my opinion. Most of his writing may be just too, too real for anyone who is not willing to take up the challenge...
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