Black Spring by Henry Miller
“What is not in the open street is false, derived, that is to say, literature.”
-From the opening of The Fourteenth Ward.
There is no story. There is no character development. There is no mise-en-scene. This is not a novel. What we’re dealing with here, dear worst-reader, are ten speck-chapters of a brilliant, poetic, free-thinking mind. These specks have been put together in order to form, not a perfect union, but something resembling a living chronicle that transcends space and boundaries between Paris and Brooklyn. Worst-writer cannot accentuate this enough, the word novel just doesn’t work here. When I first read Black Spring I wanted to put it down because it was taking no form. But the more I read the more compelled I was to continue. Henry Miller writes his poetry in the form of chronicles. Then again, if I may go out on another pseudo-analytical whim, Black Spring might just be all that was left-over after writing Tropic of Cancer. That’s not to say that this was “edited” in some way and not included in Cancer. I’m thinking (imagining?) that Miller’s Black Spring is the stuff that he just didn’t manage to get in his fist novel because there was simply too much in his mind. Where does one put too much? May I even go so far as claim this is the residue of brilliance?
“Never more God than in a Godless crowd.” -From Megalopolitan Maniac