Who Was Henry Miller?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel
Henry Miller was a friend and lover of author Anais Nin.
Henry Miller was a friend and lover of author Anais Nin.

Henry Miller, born Henry Valentine Miller on the day after Christmas in 1891, was an American writer. His parents were Heinrich Miller, a tailor, and Louise Marie Neiting. Although Henry Miller was born in Manhattan, he was brought up in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. At the time, that area of Brooklyn was referred to as "The Fourteenth Ward." Miller often used this term to refer to the area in his writing.

During Henry Miller’s life, the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn was referred to as "The Fourteenth Ward."
During Henry Miller’s life, the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn was referred to as "The Fourteenth Ward."

As a writer, Miller is known for blending genres together. Many of his texts which are referred to as “novels” are actually a mixture of fiction, nonfiction, autobiography, social criticism, philosophy, erotica, and fantasy. To further complicate matters, many of his “novels” include a character named “Henry Miller.” This character is generally agreed to be an individual apart from the author rather than simply a fictionalized version of him. Therefore, in discussions of his works, it is important to indicate whether or not the author or the character is being referenced.

Because of the explicit sexual content of his books, Henry Miller’s books were banned in the United States, and the author underwent obscenity trials. He was very good friends, and even lovers, with the author Anais Nin, who was also famous for the sexual content in her works.

Henry Miller is generally considered to have been a very intelligent man, even an intellectual. However, he did not subscribe or adhere to traditional academic structures. He very briefly attended the City College of New York, leaving after only two months of study. Despite his short stint in academia, Miller successfully published pieces of travel writing, literary analysis, and literary criticism. His scholarship was independent. In addition to being a writer, Miller was a painter and pianist.

Below, you will find a list of many of the works of Henry Miller. Although he published a great deal during the course of his life, he is probably best known for a selection of his novels: Sexus, Nexus, Plexus, Tropic of Cancer, and Tropic of Capricorn.

List of Works

    Tropic of Cancer
  • What Are You Going to Do about Alf?
  • Black Spring
  • Max and the White Phagocytes
  • Tropic of Capricorn
  • The Cosmological Eye
  • The World of Sex, Chicago
  • Under the Roofs of Paris
  • The Colossus of Maroussi
  • The Wisdom of the Heart
  • Sunday after the War
  • Semblance of a Devoted Past
  • The Plight of the Creative Artist in the United States of America
  • Echolalia
  • Henry Miller Miscellanea
  • The Air-Conditioned Nightmare
  • Maurizius Forever
  • Remember to Remember
  • Into the Night Life
  • The Smile at the Foot of the Ladder
  • Sexus (Book One of The Rosy Crucifixion)
  • The Waters Reglitterized
  • The Books in My Life
  • Plexus (Book Two of The Rosy Crucifixion)
  • Quiet Days in Clichy, Paris
  • Recalls and Reflects
  • The Time of the Assassins: A Study of Rimbaud
  • Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch
  • The Red Notebook
  • Reunion in Barcelona
  • Nexus (Book Three of The Rosy Crucifixion)
  • To Paint Is to Love Again
  • Stand Still Like the Hummingbird
  • Just Wild about Harry
  • Greece
  • Opus Pistorum
  • Insomnia or The Devil at Large

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for LanguageHumanities, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for LanguageHumanities, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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    • Henry Miller was a friend and lover of author Anais Nin.
      Henry Miller was a friend and lover of author Anais Nin.
    • During Henry Miller’s life, the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn was referred to as "The Fourteenth Ward."
      By: cesar
      During Henry Miller’s life, the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn was referred to as "The Fourteenth Ward."