Reading Brassaï about Henry Miller

While reading “Henry Miller: The Paris Years” by Brassaï I made a few discoveries about Miller, but also about Anais Nin and Brassaï him-self.

Henry Miller by Brassaï

Henry Miller by Brassaï

Revived my interest in the surrealist movement. Currently am looking into finding their essays about the automatic writing and such. But it is amazing what an impact the psychoanalysis had! The power of dreams that became legit in all the different forms of arts — literature, visual and performance arts. At same time it is not really measurable by the impact factor of scientific journals at all! Some of the ideas just go through and nowadays it is even hard to trace their origin and put a tag on it.

I discovered also that most of Miller’s novels are not as autobiographical as I thought earlier — it’s just he had a very strong power of imagination and sometimes couldn’t even distinguish between reality and fiction or dream. “…like the Surrealists and the Dadaists, Henry believed that the dreams provided fertile soil for writing, and that the writing did involve the struggle to bring to the surface that which was unknown, hidden, and unrealized” (p. 155). I’ll have to also look up his work “Into the Night Life” which he thought was like the Surrealists were doing.

So much like Brassaï “I live in what I see and hear” and Miller’s “treasures are buried deep within yourself, deep within the bowels of your inner self, and from them you can bring forth copper, or silver, or gold”. I am all about the details which have to match somehow. Scrupulous and pedantic… and so is my art, well, most of it.. Funny fact is both Brassaï and me were born on September 9th.

quote from Brassai

I have also discovered that some of Miller’s prose can actually be read as poetry and it makes a lot of sense. And I am curious to reread his books in English now.

I was hoping that the book will have more photos by Brassaï in it, his nocturnal Paris. But I ordered a few from the library to complement the reading with some visuals. A journey to Paris that doesn’t exist any more. Likewise Istanbul depicted by Orhan Pamuk and Ara Güler. Somehow these poetic city journeys are very interesting for me. Like many other people, I love to walk the city. To see where the feet will take me. What discoveries I will make on my journey.

I wish there was a similar book about Riga. There are so many different interesting corners in my hometown. Every time I go back there, I want to document every street of it. Every story that those streets have…

Books in my life

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