Henry Miller’s Disgust for Brooklyn

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Henry Miller hated Brooklyn almost as passionately as he loved Big Sur and dirty sex. In “Henry Miller, Brooklyn Hater,” Alexander Nazaryan takes a look at Miller’s lifelong contempt for the borough.

In a 1975 documentary, Miller refers to Brooklyn as:

a place where I knew nothing but starvation, humiliation, despair, frustration, every god damn thing—nothing but misery. Every bloody street I looked down I see nothing but misery, nothing but monsters… Later, when I began to explore it, why, it’s a different city, a little more horrible, gets worse all the time. Today I think it’s the ugliest, filthiest, shittiest city in the world.

Ironically, this Sunday, the proprietors of the Henry Miller Memorial Library, located in Big Sur, organized a weeklong festival in Williamsburg in his honor.


Pat Johnson is currently working on his master’s in Fiction Writing at San Francisco State University, and is the owner and editor of the satirical news website The New Porker. When Pat’s not reading or writing he’s likely squeezing a lime into a Tecate and headed to the dance floor. He also creates short films, documentaries, and sketch comedies. Pat is completing his first novel, The Virgin and Marilyn Monroe, and writing a book of Creative Non-Fiction short stories. More from this author →