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When Dylan met Henry


It was about then [1947] that Dylan [Thomas] told me a burlesque story of meeting Henry Miller in London. After a prolonged session in the pubs they went to a little dairy in Rathbone Place which served sandwiches and which I remember as being a very simple, clean, unpretentious place. But Miller was drunk and also extremely short-sighted. He was convinced that Dylan had taken him to a brothel and that the plain uniforms and innocent bearing of the waitresses were the last word in lubricious sophistication. Dylan had great difficulty in averting calamity and never succeeded at all in convincing Miller that he was mistaken. We speculated on how many similar misunderstandings might underlie the exploits so boringly recounted in Tropic of Capricorn and Dylan went on to improvise a new work of Miller’s of which the dairy was the transmuted centre and in which Miller played a grotesquely comical role, rather like Mr. Magoo.

– Dan Davin, Closing Times (OUP 1975/Faber Finds 2010).

First posted: Wednesday, September 14th, 2011.

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