The great publisher Barney Rosset has passed away. Rosset bought Grove Press in the 1950s, championing the work of countless writers, including: Henry Miller, Samuel Beckett, Jack Kerouac, Malcolm X, Pablo Neruda, Kenzaburo Oe, Kathy Acker, and David Mamet.
In the 1960s, he launched the provocative magazine, Evergreen Review. In a highly recommended interview at The Paris Review, Rosset shared his first encounter with Miller’s work as a college freshman at Swarthmore:
I read Tropic of Cancer, which I bought at Steloff’s Gotham Book Mart on Forty-seventh Street. Who told me about it, I don’t know, but I liked it enormously and I wrote my freshman English paper about both it and The Air Conditioned Nightmare … After I read Tropic of Cancer, I left—decided to go to Mexico. Because the book had influenced me so much, I left in the middle of the term. But I ran out of money. I never got to Mexico; I got as far as Florida and I came back. Four weeks had gone by. They had reported me missing to the United States government. My family didn’t know where I was. I came back, sort of sadly.
(Via Sarah Weinman)
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NICK: I'll call you.
RUTH: Yeah. Don't.
RUTH: You know. It gets cold.
RUTH: We put clothes on.
RUTH: Yes. I've got to tell you: We put on clothes, we can not make out what we look like.
We make mistakes. We all get guarded.
It's very lonely, and we all get desperate to be warm.
We have to find our lovers when it's warm.
We look at people and we see the things they are.
When they are on the Beach, or when they're happy.
Some things that look like maybe they'd be good for us.
It gets real cold up here until the fog burns out.
RUTH: You need insulation.
NICK: Well, we're right up on the Lake.
NICK: We had talked about it at one time.
RUTH: The thing about fish, they stay down there, it makes no difference to them.
NICK: Waves don't make a difference.
NICK: The waves don't make a difference.
They're on the surface, but they don't affect the water underneath.
RUTH: They don't?
RUTH: Currents, only, right?
I don't know. I don't know.
Everything gets over.
We all try to be very brave. What do you call it when you try not to show anything?
NICK: I don't know.
RUTH: We all try to be warriors. Or pirates, something. They all used to go to sea and rape the cabin boys. The Vikings.
The worst part, maybe, is just learning little things.
The things about each other. Other people.
Like if they play the piano.
Until you have taken care of them when they are sick.
The way their sweat tastes.
Those are the worst things.
NICK: We could call each other up.
RUTH: Oh, you're so sorry sometimes.