Henry Valentine Miller (December 26, 1891 – June 7, 1980) was an American novelist and painter. He was known for breaking with existing literary forms and developing a new sort of 'novel' that is a mixture of novel, autobiography, social criticism, philosophical reflection, surrealist free association, and mysticism, one that is distinctly always about and expressive of the real-life Henry Miller and yet is also fictional. His most characteristic works of this kind are Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn and Black Spring. He also wrote travel memoirs and essays of literary criticism and analysis.
Miller was born to tailor Heinrich Miller and Louise Marie Neiting, in the Yorkville section of Manhattan, New York City, of German Catholic heritage. As a child he lived at 662 Driggs Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, known in that time (and referred to frequently in his works) as The Fourteenth Ward. As a young man, he was active with the Socialist Party (his "quondam idol" was the Black Socialist Hubert Harrison). He briefly—for only one semester—attended the City College of New York. Although he was an exceptional scholar, he was willing neither to be anchored nor to submit to the...
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