News from Katy Masuga (Ph.D. 2007) included the following two new publications:
Henry Miller and How He Got That Way
Feb., Edinburgh University Press (distributed in the U.S. by Columbia University Press)
Identifying six significant writers – Whitman, Dostoevsky, Rimbaud, Lewis Carroll, Proust and D. H. Lawrence – Katy Masuga explores their influence on Miller’s work as well as Miller’s retroactive impact on their writing. She explores four forms of intertextuality in relation to each ‘ancestral’ author: direct allusions; unconscious style; reverse influence; and participation of the ancestral author as part of the story within the text. The study is informed by the theories of Bakhtin, Barthes and Kristeva on polyvocity and of Blanchot, Wittgenstein and Deleuze on language games and the indefatigability of writing.
By presenting Miller in intertextual context, he emerges as a noteworthy modernist writer whose contributions to literature include the struggle to find a distinctive voice alongside a distinguished lineage of literary figures.
* Major contribution to rehabilitating an important and often overlooked twentieth-century writer
* Places Miller’s work in thought-provoking intertextual relationships among a diverse range of writers
* Provides an incisive critical approach to Miller’s writing
The Secret Violence of Henry Miller
April, Camden House Press (imprint of Boydell and Brewer)
Henry Miller is a cult figure in the world of fiction, in part due to having been banned for obscenity for nearly thirty years. Alongside the liberating effect of his explicit treatment of sexuality, however, Miller developed a provocative form of writing that encourages the reader to question language as a stable communicative tool and to consider the act of writing as an ongoing mode of creation, always in motion, perpetually establishing itself and creating meaning through that very motion. Katy Masuga provides a new reading of Miller that is alert to the aggressively and self-consciously writerly form of his work. Critiquing the categorization of Miller into specific literary genres through an examination of the small body of critical texts on his oeuvre, Masuga draws on Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of a minor literature, Blanchot’s “infinite curve,” and Bataille’s theory of puerile language, while also considering Miller in relation to other writers, including Proust, Rilke, and William Carlos Williams. She shows how Miller defies conventional modes of writing, subverting language from within.