Alfred Perlès (1897–1990) was an Austrian writer (in later life a British citizen), who was most famous for his associations with Henry Miller, Lawrence Durrell, and Anaïs Nin.
Born in Vienna in 1897, to Czech Jewish parents, Perlès struggled as a writer in Paris during his early 1930s, where he worked for a while for the Paris office of the Chicago Tribune . In 1933, American writer Henry Miller - not yet known - took an apartment with Perlès in Clichy. Miller wrote of this experience in his book Quiet Days in Clichy (1956, orig. written 1940), in which the character "Carl" is based on Perlès. Other Miller works about Perlès in Paris include his early What Are You Going To Do About Alf?, and a letter to Perlès in Aller Retour New York .
By 1936, Perlès was part of a vibrant Parisian literary scene that included Miller, Lawrence Durrell, and Anaïs Nin, as well as Antonin Artaud, Michael Fraenkel, Hans Reichel and others. Anaïs Nin writes that she first met Alfred Perlès in April, 1932.Miller and Durrell often referred to Perlès as "Joe" or "Joey". Some of these writers were featured in a magazine called The Booster, which Perlès co-published in 1936, along with Miller, Durrell, and Nin. In 1939, with the start of World War II the group broke apart, as Miller moved on to Greece and Perlès fled to England (where he applied for, and was granted, British citizenship). A few years later, Perlès wrote a piece about this pre-War circle in Henry Miller at Villa Seurat (featured in The Happy Rock anthology, 1945, and republished by the Village Press as a chapbook in 1973).
Perlès and Miller maintained a lifelong friendship. Miller visited Perlès in the UK and Perlès visited Miller in Big Sur, California, where he wrote My Friend Henry Miller (written in 1954/55). Miller wrote a tribute to Perlès in the memoir Joey.
Later in life, he lived with his Scottish wife Ann, in a borrowed house in Kyrenia, Northern Cyprus but they were forced to leave at the time of the Turkish invasion in 1974 moving to England, where they lived in a modest house on a redbrick housing estate in the town of Wells, Somerset from where they made regular visits to the Cotswolds to meet the poet and writer P.J. Kavanagh and the artist Laurence Whitfield, Kavanagh dedicating a poem to him, "Quieter than Clichy (for Fred Perles)", An Enchantment, Carcanet 1991. He changed his name to Alfred Barret. He died in 1990.
Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell, was a French-born American diarist, essayist, novelist, and writer of short stories and erotica. Born to Cuban parents in France, Nin was the daughter of the composer Joaquín Nin and the classically trained singer Rosa Culmell. Nin spent her early years in Spain and Cuba, about sixteen years in Paris (1924–1940), and the remaining half of her life in the United States, where she became an established author.
Henry Valentine Miller was an American novelist. He broke with existing literary forms and developed a new type of semi-autobiographical novel that blended character study, social criticism, philosophical reflection, stream of consciousness, explicit language, sex, surrealist free association, and mysticism. His most characteristic works of this kind are Tropic of Cancer, Black Spring, Tropic of Capricorn, and the trilogy The Rosy Crucifixion, which are based on his experiences in New York and Paris. He also wrote travel memoirs and literary criticism, and painted watercolors.
Lawrence George Durrell was an expatriate British novelist, poet, dramatist, and travel writer. He was the eldest brother of naturalist and writer Gerald Durrell.
Tropic of Cancer is a novel by Henry Miller that has been described as "notorious for its candid sexuality" and as responsible for the "free speech that we now take for granted in literature." It was first published in 1934 by the Obelisk Press in Paris, France, but this edition was banned in the United States. Its publication in 1961 in the U.S. by Grove Press led to obscenity trials that tested American laws on pornography in the early 1960s. In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the book non-obscene. It is regarded as an important work of 20th-century literature.
The Diary of Anaïs Nin is the published version of Anaïs Nin's own private manuscript diary, which she began at age 11 in 1914 during a trip from Europe to New York with her mother and two brothers. Nin would later say she had begun the diary as a letter to her father, Cuban composer Joaquín Nin, who had abandoned the family a few years earlier.
Obelisk Press was an English-language press based in Paris, founded by British publisher Jack Kahane in 1929.
Incest: From a Journal of Love: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin (1932–1934) is a 1992 non-fiction book by Anaïs Nin. It is a continuation of the diary entries first published in Henry and June: From the Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin. It features Nin's relationships with writer Henry Miller, his wife June Miller, the psychoanalyst Otto Rank, her father Joaquín Nin, and her husband Hugh Parker Guiler. She also copied some of her correspondence with these people into her diary. Much of this book was written in English, although those of her letters which were originally written in French and Spanish were translated. Most of this diary takes place in France, particularly Clichy, Paris and Louveciennes.
June Miller was the second wife of author Henry Miller. He wrote prolifically about her and their relationship in his books, usually using the pseudonyms Mona or Mara interchangeably. She also appears prominently in the early diaries of Anaïs Nin.
The Rosy Crucifixion, a trilogy consisting of Sexus, Plexus, and Nexus, is a fictionalized account documenting the six-year period of Henry Miller's life in Brooklyn as he falls for his second wife June and struggles to become a writer, leading up to his initial departure for Paris in 1928. The title comes from a sentence near the end of Miller's Tropic of Capricorn: "All my Calvaries were rosy crucifixions, pseudo-tragedies to keep the fires of hell burning brightly for the real sinners who are in danger of being forgotten."
Brenda Venus is an American actress, model, author, ballerina and filmmaker.
"Inside the Whale" is an essay in three parts written by George Orwell in 1940. It is primarily a review of Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller with Orwell discursing more widely over English literature in the 1920s and 1930s. The biblical story of Jonah and the whale is used as a metaphor for accepting experience without seeking to change it, Jonah inside the whale being comfortably protected from the problems of the outside world. It was published, alongside two other pieces by Orwell, 11 March 1940 by Gollancz in Orwell's first collection of essays, Inside the Whale and Other Essays.
Black Spring is a book of ten short stories by the American writer Henry Miller, published in 1936 by the Obelisk Press in Paris, France. Black Spring was Miller's second published book, following Tropic of Cancer and preceding Tropic of Capricorn. The book was written in 1932-33 while Miller was living in Clichy, a northwestern suburb of Paris. Like Tropic of Cancer, the book is dedicated to Anaïs Nin.
The Black Book is a novel by Lawrence Durrell, published in 1938 by the Obelisk Press.
Aller Retour New York is a novel by American writer Henry Miller, published in 1935 by Obelisk Press in Paris, France.
Jean "Yanko"Varda was an American artist, best known for his collage work. He was the subject of the short documentary, Uncle Yanco (1967), made by his cousin, Agnès Varda. Varda was one of the early adopters of the Sausalito houseboat lifestyle that was popular in the 1960s–1970s.
Quiet Days in Clichy is a novella written by Henry Miller. It is based on his experience as a Parisian expatriate in the early 1930s, when he and Alfred Perlès shared a small apartment in suburban Clichy as struggling writers. It takes place around the time Miller was writing Black Spring. According to his photographer friend George Brassaï, Miller admitted the title is “completely misleading.”
The following is a bibliography of Henry Miller by category.
Quiet Days in Clichy, is a Danish film released in 1970 which was written and directed by Jens Jørgen Thorsen. Set in Paris, it features music by Country Joe McDonald and Ben Webster. Drawn from the semi-autobiographical 1956 novel by Henry Miller, updated from the 1930s to the 1960s, it gives reflections on and incidents in the lives of two young men sharing an apartment. The amount of nudity, sexual activity and crude language in the film has restricted its public showing in many countries.
Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch is a memoir written by Henry Miller, first published in 1957, about his life in Big Sur, California, where he resided for 18 years.
The Air-Conditioned Nightmare is a memoir written by Henry Miller, first published in 1945, about his year-long road trip across the United States in 1939, following his return from nearly a decade living in Paris.