RARE ASSOCIATION EDITION IN ENGLISH OF HERMANN HESSE'S SIDDHARTHA, 1951, INSCRIBED BY HENRY MILLER TO HIS MUSE AND SECOND WIFE JUNE, THE MERCURIAL INSPIRATION FOR MUCH OF HIS WORK, WITH MILLER FAMOUSLY CREDITED FOR PUBLICATION IN ENGLISH OF
(MILLER, Henry) HESSE, Hermann. Siddhartha. (New York): New Classic Series (New Directions, 1951). Octavo, original gray cloth, original dust jacket. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $9800.
First trade edition in English, second issue, of Hesse's lyric novel based on the early life of Buddha, an extraordinary association copy inscribed by Henry Miller to his second wife, the often mysterious figure who inspired many of his novels, "For June, to read in moments of despair. Henry 10/16/56." Miller was famously credited by the publisher as key to the publication of Siddhartha in English.
James Laughlin of New Directions credits Miller for publication of Siddhartha. Laughlin recalled: "Henry kept writing me about the Hesse book. An English lady, Hilda Rosner, had sent him a translation of Siddhartha. I went through it and thought it was very readable." But when Laughlin stalled on its publication, Henry wrote "about every three months saying I had to publish that book. Finally, to oblige Henry, I did" (Way it Wasn't, 290, emphasis in original). Miller's inscription speaks not only to his vital role in its publication, but also the turbulent relationship with his muse and second wife, June Mansfield Miller. She appears "as 'Mona,' 'Mara' and others as the central figure in the body of Miller's work, especially in Tropic of Capricorn (dedicated 'To her') and the three volumes of Rose Crucifixion (Nexus, Plexus, Sexus)." While their marriage ended in 1934, "June remained an obsessive riddle to Miller" and was at the center of a love triangle with Miller and Anais Nin—who authored her own account of their relationship in a 1966 memoir, Henry and June (Stuhlmann, ed., Literate Passion, 405). "Inspired by Hesse's intimate study of Indian philosophy and religion," Siddhartha explores the life and spirituality of "the eponymous central figure, the Brahmin Siddhartha" (Garland, 834). Originally published in Berlin, in German, in 1922, this first edition in English was published by New Directions in 1951. First trade edition, second issue with William Carlos Williams' Paterson spelled correctly on list of New Classic Series opposite the title page. Preceded the same year by a New Directions limited edition. Harrison, Newth & Candido, 31.
Book fresh and bright; light edge-wear, chipping to rear panel minimally affecting text. A near-fine copy with an exceptional literary provenance.