Henry Miller Criticism

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Henry Miller is known–maybe alongside Charles Bukowski–to be one of the most obscene authors of the 20th century. The depiction of sexual acts in his books resulted in controversies and even bans in several countries. Due to the vulgarity many readers and ciritics attributed to his name, his work had been neglected by the literary establishment and only recognised in the underground of literature for a long period of time (cf. Jong 132-3). What is more, basically starting with the publication of his first major novel Tropic of Cancerf. Jong 39-40). Instead of countering such attacks on his person–which were in effect based on reader 's assumptions equating the work 's first person narrator with the author because of the novel 's biographical character (cf. Lillios 87)–Miller fortified this impression on the reader by publishing works of the same tone in the following years, among which Tropic of Capricorn and Sexus are the most prominent ones to mention. Among the many critics, Kate Millett turned out to be one of the most durable voices of criticism against Miller. In her book Sexual Politics…show more content…
Kate Millett 's claims go even further in that Miller as the author of the seemingly misogynist Tropic of Cancer was a misogynist himself due to the autobiographicality of the book (cf. Stevenson 65). Unlike Miller 's popular image which renders him a representative of sexual liberation, he was in fact “a compendium of American sexual neuroses,” whose true significance and value, also with regard to literary terms, lied in the fact that he had the “honesty to express and dramatize them” (Millett 295). This, however, seems paradoxic considering that Miller both as an author as well as the narrator of his semiautobiographical books actually did not adhere to the gender roles–e.g. the male role model of a loving and providing father of the family–as stipulated by society, and arguably even advertized the destruction of such socio-sexual ideals
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