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Quotations From HENRY MILLER


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  • Madness is tonic and invigorating. It makes the sane more sane. The only ones who are unable to profit by it are the insane.
    Henry Miller (1891-1980), U.S. author. "An Open Letter to Surrealists Everywhere," The Cosmological Eye (1939).
  • The word which gives the key to the national vice is waste. And people who are wasteful are not wise, neither can they remain young and vigorous. In order to transmute energy to higher and more subtle levels one must first conserve it.
    Henry Miller (1891-1980), U.S. author. "Dr. Souchon: Surgeon-Painter," The Air-Conditioned Nightmare (1945).

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  • All my good reading, you mught say, was done in the toilet.... There are passages in Ulysses which can be read only in the toilet—if one wants to extract the full flavor of their content.
    Henry Miller (1891-1980), U.S. author. Black Spring, "A Saturday Afternoon," (1936).
  • Sin, guilt, neurosis—they are one and the same, the fruit of the tree of knowledge.
    Henry Miller (1891-1980), U.S. author. "Creative Death," The Wisdom of the Heart (1947).

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  • Music is a beautiful opiate, if you don't take it too seriously.
    Henry Miller (1891-1980), U.S. author. "With Edgar Varèse in the Gobi Desert," The Air-Conditioned Nightmare (1945).

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  • The waking mind ... is the least serviceable in the arts.
    Henry Miller (1891-1980), U.S. author. Interview in Writers at Work, Second Series, ed. George Plimpton (1963).
  • Our own physical body possesses a wisdom which we who inhabit the body lack. We give it orders which make no sense.
    Henry Miller (1891-1980), U.S. author. Also published separately as A Devil in Paradise (1956). "Paradise Lost," pt. 3, Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymous Bosch (1957).
  • Hope is a bad thing. It means that you are not what you want to be. It means that part of you is dead, if not all of you. It means that you entertain illusions. It's a sort of spiritual clap, I should say.
    Henry Miller (1891-1980), U.S. author. "Peace! It's Wonderful!" The Cosmological Eye (1939).

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  • Honest criticism means nothing: what one wants is unrestrained passion, fire for fire.
    Henry Miller (1891-1980), U.S. author. Sexus, ch. 2 (1949).

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  • The real enemy can always be met and conquered, or won over. Real antagonism is based on love, a love which has not recognized itself.
    Henry Miller (1891-1980), U.S. author. "Stieglitz and Marin," The Air-Conditioned Nightmare (1945).

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