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8 - The Book of Life

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 September 2012

Katy Masuga
Affiliation:
University of Paris III, Sorbonne Nouvelle
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Summary

I am sitting here reading a poet. There are many people in the room, but they are all inconspicuous; they are inside the books.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge

AS WITH PAINTERS AND PAINTING, Miller cites numerous writers and texts in relation to episodes of the life of his narrator. Similar to the passages employing notional ekphrasis, these literary evocations are used to illuminate events in the narrator's life as opposed to indulging in the content of the writing involved. Although not imaginary per se (as is the case with notional ekphrasis in painting), these references incorporate such things as Miller discussing another writer's methodology for writing or comparing himself with them as creators, as “those who were most in life” (Sexus, 189). This type of reference contrasts with the passages that incorporate direct citations from works of literature into Miller's text, which is more similar to referential ekphrasis in painting. In these instances, the work of literature is used to reflect upon the narrator's world, or even the inverse: the narrator's world becomes an example for describing an actual work of literature. This inclusion becomes deliberately opaque, as Miller blurs the lines between his writing, the writing of others, and the actual world that both sets of writing inhabit in different ways.

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Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2011

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  • The Book of Life
  • Katy Masuga, University of Paris III, Sorbonne Nouvelle
  • Book: The Secret Violence of Henry Miller
  • Online publication: 12 September 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781571137647.009
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  • The Book of Life
  • Katy Masuga, University of Paris III, Sorbonne Nouvelle
  • Book: The Secret Violence of Henry Miller
  • Online publication: 12 September 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781571137647.009
Available formats
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To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • The Book of Life
  • Katy Masuga, University of Paris III, Sorbonne Nouvelle
  • Book: The Secret Violence of Henry Miller
  • Online publication: 12 September 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781571137647.009
Available formats
×