Saturday, May 28, 2011
Henry & June: It's Complicated.
I read in Bloom's The Western Canon that Virginia Woolf looked to Jane Austen as Shakespeare's only true literary equal. Woolf thought that part of Austen's success lay in her extreme isolation. She, unlike many of her contemporaries, wrote quietly. She didn't show her novels to passing house guests or read excerpts aloud to salons full of her peers.
Well, Anais Nin, she shows her diaries to literally everyone. To Miller to Fred to her therapist. And then they all get embarrassed for her. I'm embarrassed for her. It's your classic ploy of a desperate girl trying to attract male attention. The 1930's edition of dancing atop the bar at Marquis.
Here's Anais justifying her affair with Henry Miller:
"When Henry hears Hugos beautiful, vibrant, loyal, heart-stirring voice over the telephone, he is angry at the amorality of women, of all women, of women like myself. He himself practices all the disloyalties, all the treacheries, but the faithlessness of a woman hurts him. And I am terribly distresssed when he is in such a mood, because I have a feeling of being faithful to the bond between Hugo and me. Nothing that I live outside of the circle of our loves alters or diminishes it. On the contrary, I love himbetter because I love him without hypocrisy." p107.
This girl has issues. And it's distracting me from the book. At least Henry Miller, in Tropic of Cancer, accepts his flaws. He moves on--with his life and with the plot.