Black Spring

Miller on Black Spring

Miller, like his critics, had a high opinion of the book. In a 1949 recording, Miller says:

During the ten years I spent in Paris, I must have written seven or eight books. This one, Black Spring, I like the best of all I wrote during that period. It was a wonderful period of my life. The years 1932 and ’3, living outside Paris in the town of Clichy, where I wrote the book, I guess were the very best years of my whole life.[1]

In The Books in My Life, after quoting the epigraph to Black Spring taken from Miguel de Unamuno, which reads

Can I be as I believe myself or as others believe me to be? Here is where these lines become confession in the presence of my unknown and unknowable me, unknown and unknowable for myself. Here is where I create the legend wherein I must bury myself,

Miller goes on to write, “These lines appear in the fly-leaf to Black Spring, a book which came nearer to being myself, I believe, than any book I have written before or since.”[2]

The book Henry Miller on Writing includes a handwritten list of “commandments” (labeled “Work Schedule, 1932-33”) which hung above Miller’s desk with the second commandment being “Start no more new books, add no more new material to ‘Black Spring.’”[3]


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