How Miller Changed My Life, Part 2,534 – John Vidal remembers in The Guardian (plus a shout-out to “Beauty and the Beast”)

Sometimes we like to do no work whatsoever and link to wonderful content written by someone else.  This is one of those times.

Also this blog has no overt commercial implications.  It is a “non-commercial blog” (NCB.)

It’s a great testimonial from the UK Guardian by John Vidal, whereby he talks about how Miller’s anti-establishment rant in the Colossus of Maroussi (buy it here!*) liberated him from his provincial, myopic England.

In fact, the feeling of being stifled by your “little town” is, dare we say it, universal.

Right, Belle?


But back to John Vidal.

As a youngster, he was particularly repressed by the stuffy, all-too-polite English way of doing things.  The idea of that whole “stay calm and carry on” stuff, never calling out someone or something’s hypocrisy or cruelty because it would be perceived as rude.

Henry Miller in ParisThis mentality was demolished by Miller’s brash, Brooklyn-ite, take-no-prisoners approach, which Vidal found liberating.

Nowadays it’s something we take for granted – the idea that people can openly rant about inequality or injustice.  But back then, particularly in parochial England, it was unheard of (which, on the bright side, paved the way for the entire post-Syd Pink Floyd catalog.)

Money quote:

Into this heady political and social mix came Miller’s hilarious and breathtaking demolition of the stupidity, greed and hypocrisy of those who had wrought continuing poverty, war and despair on Europe and the world.

His emotional investigation of the wild Greek spirit was not just a spit in the eye of the European establishment – who, if they had read Maroussi would have dismissed him as patently dislodged, inflamed, surreal and even mad – but a giant gob in the face of all that was curmudgeonly and mean. There was no hint of objectivity, balance or fairness. This joyful rant expressed the rage and the hopes of mine and every other generation.

So read the whole thing plus the astute comments at the bottom of the page (where people argue with each other!)

* We lied about the NCB.

One Response

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