This doesn’t really get fun — Henry Miller, SURPRISE, does not have anything very interesting to say, unless you find ancient dudes mumbling about Buddhist spaceships riveting — until you know the backstory. These two had broken up in the early 1940s, when he moved to California and just sort of assumed she’d follow him, which was the last straw for Anais in re: what she termed Henry’s “monstrous egotism.” She had sent him quite a few letters informing him of things along the lines of: “Your letters… are cold, egotistical, and concerned purely with your pleasure. All you can answer to my emotional attitude when I think I can leave and then cannot leave is thoroughly inhuman and mechanical… Do not misunderstand me. I am not asking you to return. It would be meaningless if you did.”
They were estranged for quite a while, until they managed to spark up a strained friendship through his wife, Eve. “Strained” because Henry didn’t see anything wrong with selling Anais’s personal sexy-times letters about their secret sexy-times relationship to libraries, thereby giving Anais massive panic attacks, to which Henry (always a sensitive guy) responded by telling her that everyone was going to find out they boned anyway, and if she wanted the letters back, she should go to the library and steal them.
And yet, suddenly, the man who’d sponged off of Anais, used her money to self-publish, and used her writing to pad his own books, was being hailed as a genius and a hero of literary modernism. And her only chance of getting recognition for her writing (which was going through a very long, very dry spell of being rejected by every single publisher and magazine to which she applied) was to capitalize on the newfound interest in their “friendship,” which meant she needed his co-operation. Which he made really fun, by writing her letters such as, “I probably never did a portrait of a woman artist because I never knew any intimately.” (They had been together for eleven years. He had proposed, on multiple occasions. One of the chief bones of contention in their relationship, as he well knew, had been that he wrote so much about his exes, and not about her.) “Is it necessary to do one just to prove one is not antifeminist?”
Well. You really have to search your heart for your personal that guy, and imagine your whole career depending on doing publicity appearances with him, to enjoy this clip. Because here are Anais Nin and Henry Miller! Who totally did not bone! At all! And are just such good pals! And all of this backstory comes out at around 1:02, when he’s cut her off for the second time in sixty seconds, and is now talking about how he is the world’s best person at having dreams, and she barely suppresses a glare at him, and then just turns her face to the camera with a look that seems, to me, to be the world’s best expression of “OH FOR THE DAY MY WITHERED OLD WINDBAG OF A MAN-CHILD EX-BOYFRIEND WILL SHUT HIS FLIPPING FACE.”