Smile at the Foot of the Ladder

Smile at the Foot of the Ladder

by Henry Miller
     
 

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Henry Miller called The Smile at the Foot of the Ladder his “most singular story.”
First published in 1959, this touching fable tells of Auguste, a famous clown who could make people laugh but who sought to impart to his audiences a lasting joy. Originally inspired by a series of circus and clown drawings by the cubist painter Femand Léger,

Overview

Henry Miller called The Smile at the Foot of the Ladder his “most singular story.”
First published in 1959, this touching fable tells of Auguste, a famous clown who could make people laugh but who sought to impart to his audiences a lasting joy. Originally inspired by a series of circus and clown drawings by the cubist painter Femand Léger, Miller eventually used his own decorations to accompany the text in their stead. “Undoubtedly," he says in his explanatory epilogue, °‘it is the strangest story I have yet written. . . . No, more even than all the stories which I based on fact and experience is this one the truth. My whole aim in writing has been to tell the truth, as I know it. Heretofore all my characters have been real, taken from life, my own life. Auguste is unique in that he came from the blue. But what is this blue which surrounds and envelopes us if not reality itself? . . . We have only to open our eyes and hearts, to become one with that which is."

Editorial Reviews

Chicago Sunday Tribune
“It is a modern parable. Like all good parables, it can have as many interpretations as there are readers. It has the magic of mystery, for which each reader must find his own clues and supply his own solution.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“It has shape, like a good poem; it has emotional density, delicacy of thought and beauty of language.”
The New York Times Book Review
“A simple, decorous and somehow devout tale.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811205566
Publisher:
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
01/28/1974
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
1
Sales rank:
733,601
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.20(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Henry Miller (1891—1980) was one of the most controversial American novelists during his lifetime. His book, The Tropic of Cancer, was banned in the some U.S. states before being overruled by the Supreme Court. New Directions publishes several of his books.

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