Literary Birthday – 26 December – Henry Miller

Henry Miller was born 26 December 1891, and died 7 June 1980.


  1. The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.
  2. A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition. Like money, books must be kept in constant circulation… A book is not only a friend, it makes friends for you. When you have possessed a book with mind and spirit, you are enriched. But when you pass it on you are enriched threefold.
  3. If we have not found heaven within, it is a certainty we will not find it without.
  4. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate, or despise, serves to defeat us in the end.
  5. Develop an interest in life as you see it; the people, things, literature, music – the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.
  6. If there is to be any peace it will come through being, not having.
  7. What is an artist? He’s a man who has antennae, who knows how to hook up to the currents which are in atmosphere, in the cosmos.
  8. Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heartache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognise them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths.
  9. Destiny is what you are supposed to do in life. Fate is what kicks you in the ass to make you do it.
  10. I don’t think we should read for instruction but to give our souls a chance to luxuriate.

Read: Henry Miller’s 11 Writing Commandments

Henry Miller was an American writer and painter. He is best-know for Tropic of CancerBlack Spring, and Tropic of Capricorn. He also wrote travel memoirs and essays about literary criticism and analysis.

Quotes / Source for photo: This work is from the Carl Van Vechten Photographs collection at the Library of Congress. According to the library, there are no known copyright restrictions on the use of this work.

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 26th December 2012