Henry Miller in New Contexts (Panel)


American/Diaspora

Wayne Arnold (The University of Kitakyushu)

James Decker (Illinois Central College)

A combination of global transformations within cultural and political perspectives have germinated fresh theoretical approaches to all fields of inquiry. Moving into the third decade of the 21st Century, Henry Miller (1891-1980) remains an outlier of the modern American canon and the following question arises: how does a controversial author like Miller fit into our current conversations? New approaches to Miller’s life, letters, and literature will help to determine how Miller’s work should be repositioned in this current age. In the era of #MeToo, for example, does Miller’s literature and personae alter significantly? How might we approach Miller’s extensive published and/or archival correspondences in terms of Life Writing or the Archival Turn? Miller received copious amounts of fan mail over numerous decades; how do fan mail studies help to reveal Miller’s impact on American (and global) readers? The significance of this panel rests on constructive theoretical approaches that utilize developments within a wider variety of academic fields as it pertains to Miller oeuvre. While much of Miller’s writing has been examined from perspectives of the biographical, gender studies, or his historical milieu, this panel seeks to expand the examination of Miller’s writing into new realms of study while considering how his reputation has shifted in the 21st century. Critical to this reevaluation, authors of accepted papers will be expected to make use of little-known documents in tandem with groundbreaking archival research into the vast number of archives containing Miller’s material or related and relative databases. The overarching purpose for this panel is to consider ways in which Miller should be reconsidered through a more encompassing sphere of cultural and global significance.

Moving into the third decade of the 21st century, how does a controversial author like Henry Miller (1891-1980) fit into our current conversations? In the era of #MeToo, for example, does Miller’s literature and personae alter significantly? How might we approach Miller’s extensive published and/or archival correspondences in terms of Life Writing or the Archival Turn?