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Henry Miller - Prophet of Desire

Henry Miller - Prophet of Desire

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Henry Miller had five wives and considered himself bound to both the continent of Europe and to the US. On December 26, 2016, he would have been 125 years old. This portrait is a close-up of the life of the extraordinary Henry Miller, who, rebellious and narcissistic, entered the realm of the appetites, yet also maintained a vision of a freer society for all humans.

A sorcerer of literature to many, a reliable source of scandal throughout his life, Henry Miller would have been 125 in December. His stormy relationships with women were the stuff of legend and inspired him to create ever more works.

Bestsellers like "Tropic of Cancer" and "Sexus" revolutionised literature by offering erotic descriptions of unprecedented linguistic frankness. This led to Millers books being banned in the United States and Great Britain right into the 1960s. And even in France, his 1949 work "Sexus" could not be published for eighteen years.

The hypocritical, hand-me-down values of civil society were what, in his own words, he wanted to expose and replace with that which was immediate and existential. In so doing he influenced many writers, not least those of the Beat Generation.

But who was Henry Miller really? An erotic maniac posing as a writer? A mere self-publicist?

"A terrible man" is what Miller was, in the words of his friend, writer Erica Jong, "who cultivated a fearless style. The voice he found expressed the abundance of the man. It was not the sex the puritans hated and feared. It was the abundance. It wasn't the obscenity that offended but the vitality."