BLACK SPRING - INSCRIBED TO HUNTINGTON CAIRNS

Miller, Henry

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Price: $5,500.00


Place Published: Paris
Publisher: The Obelisk Press
Date Published: 1936
Edition: First Edition
Book Id: 2724

Description

One of 1,000 copies. Octavo (19.25cm); illustrated wrappers with French flaps; 267,[5]pp. Inscribed by the author two months following publication on the first blank page: "To Huntington Cairns / with all best wishes - in rememberance of pleasant days in Paris. Henry Miller / 8/36." Light wear and toning to spine and extremities, along with some mild dust-soil to wrappers; clean internally; Very Good+.

Comments

Superb copy of Miller's second novel inscribed to Huntington Cairns, a young Baltimore lawyer who in September 1934 was appointed official U.S. Censor by the Secretary of the Treasury. It was Cairns who declared Miller's 1934 novel Tropic of Cancer (and subsequently, Black Spring, Tropic of Capricorn, and The Rosy Crucifixion) obscene based on the laws of the day, despite his admiration for Miller as an author and artist. His decision led to a 25-year correspondence and friendship between censor and author. In May 1936, Cairns received a letter from Miller, who had been corresponding with H.L. Mencken, to whom he had sent a copy of Tropic of Cancer that had eluded the U.S. Customs Bureau. Mencken told Miller of Cairns's "interest and bewilderment" in the book. Miller assured Cairns, "I appreciate your position and the attitude you have taken." He offered to send Cairns a copy of his second book, Black Spring, which Obelisk had recently issued. Cairns, no doubt concerned lest Miller try to mail another obscene book directly to him, the censor, wrote back to tell Miller that he would be in Paris in August and would pick up a copy of the book while there. The two men met, and during Cairns' visit he explained to Miller "the problem of Tropic of Cancer." After Cairns' departure, Miller sent him a copy of a favorable review of Cancer that had appeared in Eliot's periodical Criterion in England. Cairns wrote back that he had read Black Spring on the return voyage. "It filled me with admiration. I know of no other writer in English who is more naturally a novelist or who writes anything approaching your power" (Hoyle, Arthur. "My Friend the Censor": Henry Miller, Huntington Cairns, and Tropic of Cancer"). Shifreen & Jackson A12a.


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