Henry Miller's Men: The Twelve Apostles

July 3, 2014 9:00 PM

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Henry Miller's Men: The Twelve Apostles

After Henry Miller married his second wife June Mansfield and, at her urging, gave up his job as the employment manager of Western Union, he vowed never again to hold a job, never again to march in lockstep with the rest of humanity. Writing would be his work, his career, and he would scavenge and scam, beg and borrow (but not steal), to keep himself afloat. And with the exception of a brief employment with the city parks department of New York during the 1920s, a hastily abandoned position teaching English at a lycée in Dijon, France, and a short stint as a proofreader at the Herald Tribune in Paris, Miller stuck to his vow. Though Miller had been writing full time since the mid 1920s, it was not until he began receiving royalties from Europe in the 1940s that he could support himself, barely, from his writing. His financial mainstay during this period of extended poverty was Anäis Nin. But he also had a network of male friends who, over the years, helped him in a variety of ways: by giving him emotional and psychological support through their affirmations of belief in his writing, by picking up tabs at cafés and restaurants, by serving him meals in their homes, by letting him bunk in their apartments and hotel rooms, by providing needed services he could not afford to pay for, by publishing and distributing his writing at their own expense.

Miller's oldest and closest friend was his Brooklyn boyhood chum Emil Schnellock, a painter who became an art instructor at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. It was Schnellock who gave Miller ten dollars at the moment of his departure for France, his only stake as he boa...

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