The literary wild man Miller was sort of a cross between George Carlin and Marcel Proust, with a large dash of Hemingway, as is clearly demonstrated by this list, which features boys’ adventures, such as the works of G. A. Henty, “Robinson Crusoe,” and “The Three Musketeers,” together with Dostoevsky, Strindberg, Emerson, and Rimbaud. I believed Miller to be the real McCoy as far as intellectuals went, and here he was, saying that he loved “Huckleberry Finn” and “Alice in Wonderland”—just as I did, though he had read such a lot! And Miller was willing, too, to admit that he hadn’t yet read “Tom Jones,” though he still meant to. What a revelation. So here are my favorite books that Henry Miller introduced me to, all of which I can recommend most heartily:
“The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini” (a terrific liar, the very portrait of entertaining braggadocio).
“Looking Backward,” by Edward Bellamy (at which point I started caring about politics).
“Crime and Punishment,” by Fyodor Dostoevsky (the first novel to make me barf).
“The Decameron,” by Giovanni Boccaccio.
“Journey to the End of the Night,” by Louis-Ferdinand Celine (depressing! riveting).
“She,” by Rider Haggard (oh, man, “who must be obeyed”).
“The Magic Mountain,” by Thomas Mann (couldn’t make heads or tails of it yet, but there were certain stirrings).
“The Satyricon,” by Petronius.
“Gargantua and Pantagruel,” by Rabelais (so freaking weird).
“Letters to Theo,” by Vincent van Gogh.
“Star of the Unborn,” by Franz Werfel.
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