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‘It’s as though my mother fed me a poison, and though I was weaned young the poison never left my system,’ Miller wrote in .Louise Miller was a loveless woman, a strict disciplinarian and a tyrant when crossed or thwarted.alleged over the next eight decades are various, notably formlessness, and the rash of four-letter words that pit the surface of the otherwise eloquent text like a kind of punctuation.Its characters are unashamedly self-absorbed and hopeless, living the lives of scroungers and scoundrels.Kate Millett in the early 1960s decried the image of women in the book as worthless objects, used and abused for the man’s pleasure and too stupid even to know it.Miller, she said, articulated ‘the disgust, the contempt, the hostility, the violence and the sense of filth with which our culture, or more specifically, its masculine sensibility, surrounds sexuality.’ And this criticism of the book has never gone away or been satisfactorily answered. ’ Jeanette Winterson asked, writing about the book in the in 2012. But when a man makes unprovoked attacks on the image of womanhood, it’s always worth taking a good look at his mother.Most of all, it pushed against ingrained puritanism, casually invoking the kind of graphic sexuality that is taken for granted nowadays.Henry knew he had produced something that was both challenging and insulting.

And in this tender absence of pressure, Miller began to settle down to work he didn’t even realise he was doing.In a marked contrast to America, there was compassion for what it was to be a struggling artist.Here, he didn’t have to be making money to call himself a writer.Victoria Best has a theory about creativity and writers in crisis.This stunning essay is one of a series of which she writes: “I really loved writing these essays because every writer I chose, once you got down to it, was a hapless flake, making the most terrific mess of their life and yet stalwartly, patiently, relentlessly processing every error, every crisis and turning them all into incredible art.

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