Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Colossus of Maroussi

In Greece one has the conviction that genius is the norm, not mediocrity. No country has produced, in proportion to its numbers, as many geniuses as Greece. In one century alone this tiny nation gave to the world almost five hundred men of genius. Her art, which goes back fifty centuries, is eternal and incomparable. . . The Greek cosmos is the most eloquent illustration of the unity of thought and deed. It persists even to-day, though its elements have long since been dispersed. The image of Greece, faded though it may be, endures as the archetype for the miracle wrought by the human spirit.
- The Colossus of Maroussi, Henry Miller, pp 83-4.

The Colossus of Maroussi is a literary memoir about Greece. More than that it is a paean to the idea of Greece as Henry Miller shares some of his life and love of that land and its meaning for him. The incandescent spirit of Miller and Greece is on every page and the joy that creates cannot help but permeate the reader's soul. Miller's descriptive powers are immense and he evokes beautiful sunlit mornings and evenings on the Aegean with ease. For those who already know Greece from the classics it is a reaffirmation of the meaning of the people and their land; for those who do not already know Greece it is an awakening of the spirit. With literary references and reverential treatment of the gods and demigods present everywhere this book takes you on a journey that you do not want to see end. Ever since I read his The Tropic of Cancer I have loved Miller's work. This memoir provides another reason to embrace his literary world.

The Colossus of Maroussi by Henry Miller. New Directions, New York. 1958 (1941)

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