chapter  XVI
Henry Miller and John Betjeman
Pages 15

Miller writes about himself, an earlier English selection called The Cosmological Eve included a different account of his life. Miller and criticism are mutually repellent, and this view accounts for the way critics have left him alone, an extraordinary neglect considering his reputation and readership and the endless flow of sophisticated comment on modern, and modern American, literature. In the autobiography, Mr. Betjeman speaks of the experiences of childhood but the past he longs for is not his own. Some of his best poems present the two epochs in significant contrast: 'The Old Liberals', the poem on the death of George V. Mr. Betjeman gets his effects by sabotaging the present with the past. Mr. Betjeman, brings Wordsworth to mind; they both deal with the disciplines of love and fear. The understanding led Wordsworth not to the loving reconstruction of a dead culture but, much more in Miller's manner, to a visionary dreariness, to the remoter sources of humanity.