Henry Miller: Years of Trial & Triumph, 1962-1964: the Correspondence of Henry Miller and Elmer Gertz

Synopsis

The Miller-Gertz correspondence, in addition to the documentation it provides on the famous struggle to free Tropic of Cancer of obscenity charges, is important for numerous reasons, among them being that Henry Miller wrote intimately to Elmer Gertz on a wide range of topics, including his thoughts about the book which won him public recognition in his own country- at long last.

Still a controversial figure in the 1960s, but with an impressive following, especially abroad where his works were published freely in many languages, Henry Miller had been denied publication of his major works in his own country until 1961, when Grove Press published Tropic of Cancer, precipitating a long, costly, and often bitter battle against the continuing censorship of his autobiographical novels.

The attorney chosen by Grove Press to represent the publisher in Illinois was Elmer Gertz, himself a literary critic and historian by avocation, who began intensive preparation by reading everything by and about Miller he could put his hands on, which led indirectly to the letter from Miller that opened their correspondence.

Throughout the long, taxing months of this historic battle for freedom of expression, the bonds linking Cancer's author and his attorney multiplied and strengthened. They tested themselves and the world, their subjects ranging from the arts to business and family matters; from social problems to films and Hollywood personalities; from courtroom pyrotechnics to ping-pong. An almost day-by-day record of Miller's activities emerges as he speaks of his writing and painting, his social life, his personal concerns, his travels, his contacts with publishers and theatrical producers. Moreover, the unguarded thoughts expressed through all of the correspondence produced astonishing self-revelations, which makes this volume especially valuable.