Recommend to your Librarian

Henry Miller and How He Got That Way

Katy Masuga

eBook (PDF) i

Identifying six significant writers - Whitman, Dostoevsky, Rimbaud, Lewis Carroll, Proust and D. H. Lawrence - Katy Masuga examines their influence on Miller's work as well as Miller's retroactive impact on their writing. She explores four forms of intertextuality in relation to each 'ancestral' author: direct allusions, unconscious style, reverse influence and participation of the ancestral author as part of the story within the text. The study is informed by the theories of polyvocity from Bakhtin, Barthes and Kristeva and of language games and the indefatigability of writing in the work of Blanchot, Wittgenstein and Deleuze.

Show more


1. Leaves of Letters // Walt Whitman
2. The Dream of a Ridiculous Writer // Fyodor Dostoevsky
3. Through the Jabber // Lewis Carroll
4. The Drunken Inkwell // Arthur Rimbaud
5. In Search of Lost Allusion // Marcel Proust
6. Writers and Lovers // D. H. Lawrence
Works Cited

About the Author

Katy Masuga earned a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Washington, Seattle in 2007, centring on Anglo, French and Germanic modernism. Masuga has also written numerous articles as well as The Secret Violence of Henry Miller (Camden House 2011). Her current research focuses on Beckett, Wittgenstein and language. Masuga has researched and taught literature, philosophy, film, art history, history and languages at universities in France, Germany, the US and UK. She is an Associated Researcher at Paris-Sorbonne University and Editorial Coordinator at Sony Computer Science Laboratory in Paris.


Books may be, as Miller said, "as much a part of life as trees, stars or dung," but he also said 90% of them "could be thrown on the junk heap." As for the 10% which contributed to the often overlooked intelligence of his seemingly pornographic, idiosyncratic prose, Katy Masuga's much-needed study discretely shows why, and how, with suggestive attention to the writer writing about writing itself.
- Herbert Blau, Byron W. and Alice L. Lockwood Professor of the Humanities University of Washington
Henry Miller, although he read widely, selectively and in some ways eccentrically, was a totally instinctive writer, whose novels as well as his other writings were based on observation and personal experience rather than ideas or influences. Katy Masuga's study of Miller is a brave endeavour to bind him to his reading, and she finds surprising and original sides to his work that have not been noticed before, giving him a sophistication buried underneath the surface of his work, that might have surprised even the author himself. Anybody looking for the depths in Henry Miller's novels that he sought in his reading will find it here.
- John Calder, publisher and bookseller