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5 - Our Changing Geography

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 September 2012

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

Writing has nothing to do with signifying. It has to do with surveying, mapping, even realms that are yet to come.

— Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus

MILLER'S PORTRAYALS OF THE URBAN LANDSCAPE are ripe with self-conscious textual references and the introduction to a form of experimental writing that plays on itself as a text that is movement and as a text that is about movement, physically and mentally. Miller's text constantly remains fluid and dynamic, leaving no stability while also moving away, quite deliberately, from any sense of realism. An important example of this quality in Miller's writing is seen in his multi-level engagement with America and the cities of Paris and New York, which illustrates how in Miller, as for example in Proust, all names (and hence, all bodies) themselves become metaphors. In Black Spring Miller explains that what he sees in the city “indicates the conflict that is going on perpetually between man and reality, a conflict of which this book is but another map” (190). Never literally describing actual places, Miller uses the literary to combine what is real and what is ideal. Several paragraphs further on he writes, “As man we contain all the elements which make the earth, its real substance and its myth; we carry with us everywhere and always our changing geography, our changing climate” (191). Not only is Miller entirely metaphorical, even his metaphors evade stability — precisely because he brings awareness to the non-representational quality of language.

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Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2011

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  • Our Changing Geography
  • 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/10.1017/9781571137647.006
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  • Our Changing Geography
  • 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/10.1017/9781571137647.006
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

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.

  • Our Changing Geography
  • 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/10.1017/9781571137647.006
Available formats
×