Sexus- Henry Miller

“There are moments when the elixir of life rises to such overbrimming spendor that the soul spills over. In the seraphic smile of the Madonnas the soul is seen to flood the psyche. The moon of the faces becomes full; the equation is perfect. A minute, a half minute, a second later, the miracle has passed. Something intangible, something inexplicable, was given out—and recieved. In the life of a human being it may happen that the moon never comes to the full. In the lives of some human beings it would seem, indeed, that the only mysterious phenomenon observable is that of perpetual eclipse. In the case of those afflicted with genius, whatever the form it may take, we are almost frightened to observe that there is nothing but a continuous waxing and waning of the moon

Taking a break from William Gaddis’s behemoth The Recognitions, I decided to look back on another one of my favorite novels, Sexus. Written in 1949,  the first chapter in Henry Miller’s Rosy Cruxifiction trilogy, the autobiographical work chronicles the sexual surrealist’s beginnings as a writer as well as his first and second marriages.

Starting in his “33rd year” Miller opens the novel in the pleasantry of having just met his soon-to-be second wife, Mona. Miller’s new love, the fictionalized version of his actual second wife, June, attempts to convince the young savant that his philosophical musings are worthy of being put down to the page. Meanwhile, the anon author must decide how to break the news to his first wife and child that he wants a divorce.

Like most of Miller’s writings, Sexus strings together a collection of encounters with friends and lovers that prove to be fodder for the author’s reflections. What I label as the “dirty man’s” New York novel, we follow Miller around the dark city streets like a dog following his penniless perverse owner. Unapologetic about his down-right disgusting sexual exploits and opinions of fellow characters, Sexus bridges on the gap of offensive to new readers  of the author, but seem almost welcoming to veteran readers.

So, why do I love Sexus and, more importantly, why should you be reading it? Written ten years after the release of his most celebrated, Tropic of Cancer, Sexus is more than just a look back, it’s serves as an influence for young artists. When Henry struggles, we struggle.  It’s understandable that detesters of the author would pan the novel for it’s objectification of women, even I had my moments, but there is something inherently wonderful in Miller’s writing that surpasses the dismal perversity of Bukowski and underlying misogny of Hemingway.


12 thoughts on “Sexus- Henry Miller

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  3. Pingback: Plexus – Henry Miller « Living with Literature

  4. Pingback: Nexus – Henry Miller « Living with Literature

    • Pooja,

      Thanks for checking us out.

      May be a while before I get to Kenilworth, but will keep you updated.

      Cheers and visit anytime!

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