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Henry Valentine Miller was an American writer and was a major force in literature in the late 1950s. Two of his works were banned from publication in the U.S. for many years due to their pornographic contents. His most characteristic works are Tropic of Cancer, Black Spring, Tropic of Capricorn and The Rosy Crucifixion trilogy.
See the fact file below for more information on the Henry Miller or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Henry Miller worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Henry Miller was born on December 26, 1891 in New York City. He was the son of Louise Marie and tailor Heinrich Miller, a Lutheran German.
- As a child, he lived in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for nine years, which was known at that time as the Fourteenth Ward. He wrote about his childhood experiences there in Black Spring (1936).
- Miller attended Eastern District High School in Williamsburg after leaving high school while his family lived in Bushwick. He was involved, as a young man, with the American Socialist Party. He spent one semester attending New York City College.
- Miller left his job in 1924 in Western Union in New York to devote himself to writing.
- He wrote his first novel, Clipped Wings, in March 1922, during his three week vacation. A study of twelve Western Union messengers, Miller called Clipped Wings “a long, and probably very bad one.”
- Having married twice, he moved to Paris alone in 1930. After an initial life of need and struggle, Miller’s days changed for the better following his friendship with Hugh Guiler and Anais Nin, who had financially supported him.
- He began work on Tropic of Cancer soon after. It was published in France in 1934 and in the United States in 1961. It was based on his hand-to-mouth existence in depression-ridden Paris.
- In 1931, Miller was employed as a proofreader for the Chicago Tribune Paris edition. He took this opportunity to present some of his own articles under the name of Perlès, since only the editorial staff were allowed to publish in the paper at that time.
- In 1939, Miller visited Greece and inspired The Colossus of Maroussi (1941), which he considered as his best book. This is a reflection on the country’s importance.
- He toured the United States extensively in 1940–1941 and wrote The Air-Conditioned Nightmare (1945), a sharply critical account of it.
- Miller became the center of a colony of admirers after settling on the California coast in Big Sur.
- Many of them were Beat generation authors who saw similarities to Miller’s wholehearted embrace of the degrading together with the sublime in their own convictions.
- Miller produced his Rosy Crucifixion trilogy at Big Sur, consisting of Sexus, Plexus, and Nexus (U.S. version distributed as a whole in 1965).
- It covers much of the same period of Miller ‘s life as Capricorn’s Tropic and along with that book traces the stages through which the hero-narrator becomes a writer.
- Publishing the “Tropics” in the U.S. prompted a series of obscenity trials that resulted in a Supreme Court ruling in 1964 dismissing state court claims that the book was obscene.
- Miller wrote a short story in 1959 that he called his “most singular story.” It is actually a fictional work named The Smile at the Foot of the Ladder.
- Miller signed the pledge of ‘Writers and Editors War Tax Protest’ in 1968, vowing to reject tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War.
- Only 200 copies of Miller’s 1972 chapbook On Turning Eighty were published. It was published by Capra Press, in collaboration with Yes! Press.
- Miller was also a watercolourist. He produced numerous watercolor paintings and wrote books on this field in addition to his literary skills.
- He was a close friend of the French painter Grégoire Michonze.
- He exhibited worldwide, and wrote about art in To Paint Is To Love Again (1960). His correspondence was published in various volumes: with Lawrence Durrell (1963), with Anaïs Nin (1965), and with Wallace Fowlie (1975).
- It is estimated that during his lifetime, Miller painted 2,000 watercolors, and that 50 or more major collections of Miller’s paintings exist.
- Miller’s daughter Valentine placed some of her father’s art for sale in 2005.
- On June 7, 1980, at the age of 88, Miller died of circulatory complications in his home in Pacific Palisades. His body was cremated, and he shared his ashes with his son Tony and daughter Val.
- Tony has said he ultimately intends to have his ashes mixed with his father’s ashes and dispersed in Big Sur.
Henry Miller Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Henry Miller across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Henry Miller worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Henry Valentine Miller who was an American writer and was a major force in literature in the late 1950s. Two of his works were banned from publication in the U.S. for many years due to their pornographic contents. His most characteristic works are Tropic of Cancer, Black Spring, Tropic of Capricorn and The Rosy Crucifixion trilogy.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Henry Miller Facts
- Timeline of History
- Get To Know More
- Filming Miller
- 11 Commandments
- Thousand Artworks
- The Trilogy
- Bring Back Memories
- Word Search
- Splatter Colors
- He Quotes
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Use With Any Curriculum
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