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Books > Colossus of Maroussi August 18, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Books Life.

colossus.jpg  Colossus of Maroussi, by Henry Miller
Paperback, ISBN: 0811201090
Pub. Date: June 1958, Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation

This book about Greece, by the author of Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn, is incandescent with his feeling for a great people and their past. ‘It doesn’t seem far from a miracle to me, the emergence of as friendly and joyful a book.’

Henry Miller in his “Colossus of Marousi” provided the most famous description of Poros: “The island revolves in cubistic planes, one of walls and windows, one of rocks and goats… Yonder, where the mainland curves like a whip, lie the wild lemon groves and there in the spring young and old go mad from the fragrance of sap and blossom. You enter the harbor of Poros swaying and swirling, a gentle idiot tossed about amidst masts and nets in a world which only the painter knows.”

Miller’s famous quotes:

Greece >
To know [Greece] thoroughly is impossible; to understand it requires genius; to fall in love with it is the easiest thing in the world. It is like falling in love with one’s own divine image reflected in a thousand dazzling facets.
Inventing Paradise The Greek Journey 1937-47 Greece

I choose this image at random but how appropriate and accurate it is! When I think of Katsimbalis bending over to pick a flower from the bare soil of Attica the whole Greek world, past, present and future, rises before me. I see again the soft, low mounds in which the illustrious dead were hidden away; I see the violent light in which the stiff scrub, the worn rocks, the huge boulders of the dry river beds gleam like mica; I see the miniature islands floating above the surface of the sea, ringed with dazzling white bands; I see the eagles swooping out from the dizzy crags of inaccessible mountain tops, their somber shadows slowly staining the bright carpet of earth below; I see the figures of solitary men trailing their flocks over the naked spine of the hills and the fleece of their beasts all golden fuzz as in the days of legend; I see the women gathered at the wells amidst the olive groves, their dress, their manners, their talk no different now than in Biblical times; I see the grand patriarchal figure of the priest, the perfect blend of male and female, his countenance serene, frank, full of peace and dignity; I see the geometrical pattern of nature expounded by the earth itself in silence which is deafening. The Greek earth opens before me like the Book of Revelation. I never knew that the earth contains so much; I walked blindfolded, with faltering, hesitant steps; I was proud and arrogant, content to live the false, restricted life of the city man. The light of Greece opened my eyes, penetrated my pores, my whole being.I came home to the world, having found the true center and the real meaning of revolution. No warring conflicts between the nations of the earth can disturb this equilibrium. Greece herself may become embroiled, as we ourselves are now becoming embroiled, but I refuse categorically to become anything less than the citizen of the world which I silently declared myself to be when I stood in Agamemnon’s tomb. From that day forth my life was dedicated to the recovery of the divinity of man. Peace to all men, I say, and life more abundant!
Greek File, The Colossus of Maroussi

Peace >
There will be no peace until murder is eliminated from the heart and mind. Neither God nor the Devil is responsible and certainly not such puny monsters as Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, et alia. Certainly not such bugaboos as Catholicism, Capitalism, Communism. Who put the demons there in our heart to torture us? A good question, and if the only way to find out is to go to Epidaurus, then I urge you one and all to drop everything and go there at once.
Inventing Paradise The Greek Journey 1937-47 Colossus of Maroussi

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