HM, San Antonio Express/News, 6-29-69
PÂ«ge 2-H Son Antonio EXPRESS/NEWS-Sundoy, Juno 29, -"""Â·" IT ALL BEGAN WITH HIM Today's Writing Apalls Miller ' It all started, in a sense, u-ith Henry Miller. His "daring," "liberated" "liberated" books of the, '30s -- jiar- . ticularly "Tropic of Cancer" and '. "Tropic of Capricorn" -- started ~a literary revolution still going on today. Now, it appears, times have caught up with him. Some of his . works, once banned, are even being ,iwde into movies. In a rare inter- Â· view, the 77-year-old Miller talks (ibrmt his continuing literary influence. influence. By BOB THOMAS Â· PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. (AP) - Â· .He possesses the benevolent air of a retired retired priest. The rheumy eyes narrow Â· into slits, and he speaks in freshets of monologue about his concern for America, America, the generation of youth and the future oj literature. In this seaside suburb cf Los Angeles he resides in a two-stray while strucco house surrounded by businessmen, doe- tors and other members of the upper middle ciass. It seems a strange place for the great bohemian Henry Miller, hailed by some as a liberator of American language and morals, assailed by others as a literary pornographer. HIS EARLY NOVELS paved the way for the whole stream of sexually explicit works now coming off the printing presses. presses. Like many a father, however, he is appalled by what he sired. At 77, Henry Miller is finally being accorded accorded honors he and his adherents long have felt were due him. His once-banned books are now sold in most communities. The relaxed standards of films now permit his literary works to reach the screen. His "Tropic of Cancer" is being filmed in France by Joseph Strick, who d i r e c t e d the movie version of James Joyc's "Ulysses." A Scandinavian company company is bringing forth "Quiet Days in Clichy." Clichy." Jliller himself is starring in a full- Jength documentary, "The Henry Miller Odyssey." LIVING QUIETLY--Henry Miller lives now quietly in California. His early novels (such as "Tropic of Cancer," and "Tropic of Capricorn"), Capricorn"), written in the 1930s, have finally brought him recognition as a literary giant--and a revolutionary once.--AP Photo. "All this happens so late, so late," laments laments Miller, shaking his head. "Why couldn't it have happened sooner, when'[ could have enjoyed it more? Why does recognition come"30 years afterward?'' "PERHAPS IT was just as well. Success Success is much more destructive than failure. failure. I've seen men ruined by success. "I wrote "Tropic of Cancer" in 1031, and it was three or four years before the. publisher in Paris dared to print it. Not until 1961 was it printed in America. "When I meet with young writers today, today, I hear them complain that they have a wife and family and they can't make a living from writing. I tell them that il is unfortunate, but any serious writer must wail 211 years before his work will be recognized. Perhaps that is s p p o d e d up today, because there are more avenues for an author's work. But most nf us must wait.'' Speaking of "Tropic of Cancer," port Kzra Pound once exclaimed! '"At last, an unprintable book that's readable." SKRIOL'S CRITICS have agreed with Pound on both scores. By most standards, standards, Miller's works might"be considered obscene, but Miller's artistry raised them a b o v e the level of pornography. The books are mostly s y m b o l i c rambles through bars, brothels and low-life byways byways of Paris and other citadels of sin. Said n o v e l i s t Lawrence Durrell: "American literature today begins and III Abandon Pornography Controls *--' JL a/ . . COPENHAGEN (AP) - Denmark's latest experiment in freedom comes inlo , force Tuesday with almost total abandonment abandonment of controls on manufacture and sale of pornographic pictures. ~ This is the" latest of many steps taken ; since 1967 in repeal of sanctions against hard-core pornography. It is now more readily available to Danes and tourists than ever before. In Hie same period, (here has been a sharp statistical slump in sex offenses handled by police in this capital, where pornography is a $50 niillion-a-year industry. industry. An investigation to bo launched in August at the Institute of Criminal Law .will try to determine if there is any link between the trends. Except perhaps for the policeman on the beat, nobody is making advance judgments. judgments. F o r m e r Justice Minister Knud .- Axel Nielsen, 65, says: "Our experience is still too short. It will be some years before before we CM form a clear judgment on . the possibility of a link. But anyway, it is . clear sex crimes have not risen as a result -of steps taken by the Folkeling (Parliament) (Parliament) to free pornography." A VETERAN* Copenhagen detective lold a newsman: "I personally feel the ' rate of sex crime is dropping because sex relations in Denmark are progressively more free. This means there are fewer frustrated people about and the liberation of pornographic m a t e r i a l may be a strong secondary factor in working off these frustrations." What happens on Tuesday is that pornographic pornographic pictures -- production, distribution distribution and sale -- become entirely legal. The only restrictions retained will ban - sales to persons under 16 and preserve . police powers to prosscute if window dis- - plays "violate public decency." Â· This follows the liberation of written pornography two y e a r s ago and the scrapping of film censorship, except for under-16s, early this summer. - ; -That Is front-running policy even in Scandinavia. In Sweden, the manufactur- . -ers of pornographic material are still frequently frequently brought to court and fined. In a --case e a r 1 i e r this month, a Stockholm businessman was convicted for exhibiting big pornographic picture blow-ups in his shop. At the same time, the court found that various magazines also on view did not offend public taste. NORWEGIAN LAW forbids the sale and distribution of pornographic material whether in word or pictures. Newspapers are banned from c a r r y i n g advertisements advertisements for pornographic products. Some Norwegians buy D a n i s h newspapers which operate under no such restriction. The Danes long ago asserted their attitude attitude internationally by resigning from the Geneva Convention on Obscene Literature. Literature. This 48-nation body aims at preventing preventing the widespread trade and circulation circulation of pornographic material. Nielsen was asked in an interview if such actions might not bring Denmark into disrepute, as a sort of international outlaw. "I do not think so," he replied with a laugh. "I am quite sure the Danish Danish nation will not lose its good reputation reputation because we follow our liberal attitudes attitudes on this point." The legislator indicated t h e r e was wide agreement in parliament that pornographic pornographic material should not be censored censored for adults. He said it is fundamental fundamental policy to remove pornography from the "forbidden. fruit" area in Die hope that eventual demand would drop. "I AM QUITE sure the great majority of Folketing (Parliament) members find pornographic unesthetic," he said. "At the same time we have taken a lead and are perhaps somewhat in advance of public opinion." Dr. Bcr! Kutschinsky, a psychologist and research fellow at Copenhagen University, University, will head the investigation into a possible link with the declining sex-crime rate. "There may just be a direct relation- ship." he said. "We shall look at whether the potential sex criminal can get enough c o m p e n s a t i n g releases of tensions through the use of pornographic material. material. We do not know anything about that but we will look into it." RUSSIA Continued from Page III 1967 that "the wrong gang" was in power. In fact, there was an obvious turn for the worse with the Middle East war. Not only KGB and militai-y intelligence agents but Poltiburo members had directly directly helped provoke the conflict by spreading the verifiable lie that Israeli troops were massing to attack "progressive" "progressive" Syria. In the wave of Israel's victory, victory, reactionaries in Russia, the Ukraine. Bessarabia and the Baltic states launched a fierce "anti-zionist" campaign, which continues unabated. It was recognized by both Jews and anti-semites to be poten- ially as lethal as Stalin's murderous drive against "rootless cosmopolitans" (1948-53). Even in civilized Leningrad, Jews say the climate now is "the worst since 1952." THE PRETENSIONS OF the jubilee year ended with the Moscow trial of Yuri Galanskov and Alex Ginsburg in January, 1968. "Vigilance,, became t h e watchword at the "historic" April plenum plenum of the party Central Committee, which proclaimed an open season for the KGB, MVD and cultural hatchetrnen. The invasion of Czechoslovakia finally crushed the revolutionary hopes of Russia's Russia's loyal liberals"--hopes which had been so earnestly formulated by the Soviet nuclear physicist, academician Andrei Sakharov. From Aug. 20, 1968 onward, it became became clear that, so far as the Kremlin summit was concerned, there could no longer be serious talk of a "liberal" or even a "moderate" faction. As a seasoned seasoned neutral diplomat sadly observed, "the struggle is between the conservatives and the reaclionaires" -- between plodding, coarse, relatively cautions old Stalinists and more dynamic, ambitious younger apparatchiki. Last October, the classic signs began to appear of a grim, intense struggle for Kremlin power, involving various leaders, leaders, factions and patronage groups, the rival machines of the party, army, KGB and MVD (civil police). The "winning combination" has yet to emerge, although although I suspect it will within a year. Meanwhile, the victims have been individuals individuals and national groups striving for basic rights throughout the vast multinational multinational empire occupied by Soviet garrisons garrisons from the Vltava to the Ussuri. The fate of a brilliant young Tartar physicist R. K. Kadiyev, shows how swiftly and drastically times changed. Last year, Kadiyev and a colleague presented presented to an international conference in Tbilisi startling new astronomical and space researches confirming and deepening deepening Einstein's theory of realtively. There have been few comparable discoveries, anywhere, since Einstein first suggested the theory. Za Kommunism, newspapers of the Dubno Atomic Research Institute, was proudly hailing Kadiyev's feat as recently as Nov. 22, 196S, TODAY, KADIVKV SITS in Tashkent jail, the chief defendant at a secret trial of ten Tartar intellectual leaders who have been struggling for the return of their people to the Crimean homeland from which Stalin deported them in 1941 It was to attend the trial of Kadiyev and his comrades last month that the gruff, fearless Ukrainian democrat, former Maj Gen. Pyotr Grigorenko, went to Tashkent Tashkent -- in full knowledge that he too would be arrested. The KGB and MVD have decimated the hardy little Moscow underground, the activist civil-liberties movement led by Grigorenko and Pavel Litvinov. At the same time, the better known "loyal liberals" liberals" of the cultural and scientific community community are being successively restricted, demoralized and removed from positions of influence -- with the reported ouster of Tvardovsky from.Novy Mir only the latest latest case in point. Yet the Kremlin rulers have not succeeded succeeded in establishing the mind of "order" "order" they seem to crave, the order which Marx in his time called "the pace of the graveyard." Instead, like the Romanov Tsars before them, they have been sowing sowing dragons' teeth. For with each new act of repression, they are creating new oppositionists, turning non-politicals into politicals, liberal evolutionists into potentially potentially radical revolutionists. Five months after the invasion of Czechslpvakia, a young Soviet army engineer engineer lieutenant named llyin boarded the crimson night train from Leningrad to Moscow. The next day, he borrowed a police uniform from a relative -- and on Jan. 23, 1969, inside the Kremlin's Boro- vitsky gate, fired shots almost surely intended intended for Brezhnev. ALTHOUGH ILYIN'S act may well be a milestone in Russian history, Soviet officials have not explained it. to this day. Instead, tipsters for the contending Kremlin Kremlin factions have, from !he start, been circulating two rival accounts. According lo the conservatives. llyin -vas a Soviet Oswald, a "Paranoid" loner, and has already already been, or soon will be. officially certified as insane. Accroding to the reactionaries, reactionaries, the lituilenant from Leningrad was par of a "counter-revolutionary gang with accomplices high in the Soviet army, army, MVD, and elsewhere, all of whom will soon be exposed and brought to trial. For their part, R u s s i a n democrats have compared young Dyin with both the Decembrist rebel officers of 3825 and the populist revolutionary terrorists of tsar- ism's last four decades. They have drawn heart from the story that llyin, interrogated interrogated personally by Andropov as to why he did it, replied: "Chtob razbudit rossi- yu" ("to wake up Russia.") There is absolutely no way to verily which, if any, of these slories may be true. For in Brezhnev's Moscow, no foreigners foreigners and indeed very few Russians ever know anything for certain aboul m a t t e r s of importance --and hardly much more about matters most countries regard as trivial. It is precisely such knowledge, on the part of the Soviet peoples peoples and tho world, that the Stalinist system system (only partly mnrlifiod under Khrushchev) Khrushchev) was constructed to prevent. The system is still operating, barbed wire, microphones and all, under Stalin's heirs. Moijtlay in San Antonio News: The Halt Wfftfh thr, Blind. ends with the meaning of what he done." Does Miller feel responsible for today's today's frankness in books? "Yes, I suppose 1 am, along with Joyce and D. H. Lawrence. But they liberated the novel more in a literary while I did it fur the man in the And what does he think of the result of this "liberation?" "I am appalled. I could be a but only on matters of taste and That is what is lacking in today's writing. But, of couise, I would never censorship for any reason. I feel that man is entitled to express himself with complete freedom. In time, perhaps, the writing will achieve taste and sensitivity. But it is liable to get worse before it better." AND WHAT OF Philip Roth's "Portnoy's "Portnoy's Complaint?" the runaway best seller dealing with sex. "I have no reason to read it," Miller. For Henry Miller, the w a i t i fame began in Paris in 1930. He had known a harsh childhood in Brooklyn, studied at City College in New York at C o r n e l l , then bummed United Stales in odd jobs before seeking the Bohemian life of a writer in Paris. But even in prewar France, Miller's writings were c o n s i d e r e d garde. He scrabbled for a living from magazines and the meager sales of books, "Tropic of Cancer," "Tropic of Capricorn," "Black Spring," "The Cns- mological Eye," and others. They were loo far out to achieve wide readership, as well as loo explicit in sexual acts language to gain entrance to puritanical America. The war sent Miller back to the United States and greater poverty. His total assets on arrival: $10. HE S E T T L E D IN the Big Sur country near Monterey, Calif., living a primitive life as he tried to continue serious writing. "Whenever I run down America, it the institutions and customs that I attack." attack." he reflects. "I find that if I pc directly to the people, 1 am never disappointed." "From 1940 to 1952 1 never had a checking account," he says. "I lived credit most of tiic time. The man who delivered the mail also delivered groceries and other things, and he allowed me charge everything. I even bought my stumps on credit. He did that for artists at Big Sur, and you know something? He never iost money on any of thorn." The war helped a change of fortune. American GIs discovered his works in F r a n c e, and his reputation spread. After the war, his publisher had amassed $40,000 In royalties, but Miller didn't go to France to collect the "1 was having a fight with my wife didn't want to take her," he explains. is now wed to wife No. 5, Tokyo-born entertainer Hiroko Tokuda, 30. When Supreme Court rulings loosened laws against obscenity, Miller's books finally finally were printed in his native land. " T r o p i c of Cancer" was 1961, and others followed -- too quickly, he believes. "AFTER A YEAR, the sales dwn- riled. Now I rely on foreign publishers my income. In France and Germany especially in the Scandinavian countries, my books are very popular. There you find a much more literate population," he said. When prosperity finally overtook Henry Miller seven years ago, he moved from Big Sur to his home here. He is oblivious to the affluent neighborhood but devoted to his house, particularly because because it affords space for his four interests--writing, painting, swimming and table tennis. Miller talked with an interviewer on Sunday afternoon, after he had engaged in a rigorous table tennis game with Robert S n y d e r, producer-director of Henry Miller Odyssey." The author gives few interviews these days. "I hate them," he explained. "They always ask such direct questions, like what do I think of De Gaulle. What hell do I know about De Gaulle? Only what I read in the papers." DESPITE HIS reluctance, he delivered delivered numerous opinions in response to questions about his life and the world around him. Such as: What is the state of the novel? "I stay away from reading them. thought for some time that the novel 30 years ago with Joyce. I don't get nourishment from reading any of today's novelists, except for one: that fellow writes Y i d d i s h novels, Isaac Singer. What does he see as the future of writing? "I believe that writing will some give way to another mode of expression. Eventually I think that we will communicate without words. This could be done by fil or by another breed of human being who can develop extrasensory communication. Then we won't have to so much. There is entirely too much in the world. "There is also too much written Ninety per cent of all writing -- In 90 per cent of all the arts -- Is junk. could be wiped out entirely with no to civilization. This mass of junk becomes becomes a burden to young people, who must sift through it to find something value." What do you think of the young today? "I think a lot of what they are particularly on the campuses, is stupid and harmful. But I find them'to be less bad than the adults. The young people may be going about il the wrong way. but at least they are trying to attack h y p o c r i s y and injustice in life." What is your view of America today? "I think that in literature, in politics, in almost every phase of its existence, this country is going through a process deterioration a n d disintegration. I very little left of what inspired tho founding fathers."