The Rosy Crucifixion  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
The Rosy Crucifixion trilogy of Henry Miller -- Sexus, Plexus, and Nexus -- is set in Jazz Age New York.

The Rosy Crucifixion, consisting of Sexus, Plexus, and Nexus, is a fictionalized account documenting the five-year period of Henry Miller’s life in Brooklyn as he falls for his second wife June and struggles to become a writer, leading up to his initial departure for Paris in 1928.

Contents

Sexus

Sexus (1949), the trilogy’s first volume, describes the break-up of Miller’s first marriage as he meets, falls in love with and marries his second wife, the captivating and mysterious dancer Mona (June Miller). At the beginning of Sexus, Miller is 33 years old.

It details his divorce from his first wife up until his early marriage to his second wife, June Miller. It takes place in New York, where Miller was born and raised and includes portraits of his many friends, lovers and acquaintances, and includes many reminiscences. Furthermore, it provides a view into Miller's ambition and struggle to become a writer -- a struggle his friends barely understood.

The New York Times stated, "Miller uses licentious sex scenes to set the stage for his philosophical discussions of self, love, marriage and happiness." Because of the sex scenes, the book was not originally published in the United States. It was first put out in Paris as two volumes by Obelisk Press.

June is called Mara at the beginning of Sexus, but later in the novel, and for the remainder of the trilogy, her name is changed to Mona without explanation.


Plexus

Plexus (1953), the second volume, continues with the story of Miller’s marriage to Mona, and covers Miller’s attempts to become a writer after leaving his job at the Cosmodemonic Telegraph Company.

Nexus

In Nexus (1959), the final installment, Miller finds himself an outsider in his own marriage, as Mona’s relationship with Anastasia grows, with the pair finally abandoning Miller to travel to Paris. After Mona’s return on her own, the trilogy ends with Miller and his wife departing for Paris.

Another installment

According to biographer Robert Ferguson, Miller had in mind to write a fourth volume. It would have covered his time in France with Mona, their return to New York, and his return to Paris on his own, concluding with him writing the opening lines of Tropic of Cancer at 18 Villa Seurat. He made several attempts to write the book before ultimately abandoning the undertaking.

Durrell's reaction to Sexus

Miller’s close friend Lawrence Durrell was severely disappointed in Sexus. In a letter dated September 5, 1949, he wrote that Miller was lost “in this shower of lavatory filth which no longer seems tonic and bracing, but just excrementitious and sad.”

“I am trying to reproduce in words a block of my life which to me has the utmost significance – every bit of it," Miller responded. "Since 1927 I have carried inside me the material of this book. Do you suppose it’s possible that I could have a miscarriage after such a period of gestation? … But Larry, I can never go back on what I’ve written. If it was not good, it was true; if it was not artistic, it was sincere; if it was in bad taste, it was on the side of life.”

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Rosy Crucifixion" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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