A Self-Made Surrealist

A Self-Made Surrealist

Ideology and Aesthetics in the Works of Henry Miller

Caroline Blinder

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A new evaluation of a writer who was the talk of the literary world in the early days of the sexual revolution.
Since the publication of Tropic of Cancer in 1934, Henry Miller has been the target of critics from all sides. A Self-Made Surrealist sets out to provide a view of Miller different from both earlier vindications of him as sexual liberator and prophet and more contemporary feminist critiques of him as pornographer and male chauvinist. In this re-evaluation of Miller's role as a radical writer, Blinder considers not only notions of obscenity and sexuality, but also the emergence of psychoanalysis, surrealism, automatic writing, and the aesthetics of fascism, as they illuminate Miller's more general 20th-century concerns with politics and mass psychology in relation to art. Blinder also considers the effect on Miller of the theoretical works of Georges Bataille and André Breton, among others, in order to define and explore the social, philosophical, and political contexts of the period. By examining the enormous impetus Miller got from being in the midst of French culture and its debate, A Self-Made Surrealist shows that Miller was indeed a seminal writer of the period rather than simply an isolated male chauvinist.

Table of Contents

Henry Miller and Surrealism
Representations of the Urban Landscape
The Politics of Violence
Time of the Assassins


Blinder confronts the most controversial of Miller's ideas with wisdom, good sense, and fair judgment, bringing a keen intelligence to the contradictions and complexities which have kept Miller's work in print internationally since its inception. Leon Lewis, Appalachian State University
Blinder provides the first treatment of this subject and makes a fitting contribution to the "European Studies in American Literature and Culture" series. CHOICE'Blinder argues that critics . . . have neglected the period in which Miller wrote his best material, a range of surrealist essays compsed during his expatriate days in Paris.' AMERICAN LITERATURE

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