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The Colossus of Maroussi

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  3,636 ratings  ·  306 reviews
The Colossus of Maroussi is an impressionist travelogue by Henry Miller, written in 1939 and first published in 1941 by Colt Press of San Francisco. As an impoverished writer in need of rejuvenation, Miller travelled to Greece at the invitation of his friend, the writer Lawrence Durrell. The text is inspired by the events that occurred. The text is ostensibly a portrait of ...more
Paperback, 244 pages
Published January 17th 1975 by New Directions (first published 1941)
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Michael
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's the eve of World War II. Dark forces are gathering across Europe, about to tear the continent apart in an unprecedented act of barbarity. Henry Miller travels to Greece, ostensibly to visit a Greek writer but really to reacquaint himself with the humanistic spirit he sees flowing from there--a life-affirming spirit that's the opposite of the impending death everywhere else. Part travelogue, part diatribe, this is a book that's not going to be for everyone. I can certainly understand why som ...more
Phil
Jan 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
This beautiful and nearly flawless travel memoir is marred by this unfortunate sentence on page 121: "On the way to the library, I made kaka in my pants." Wha? Here's this fabulous surreal narrative about Greece, and suddenly the narrator doesn't just shit himself, he "makes kaka?" Skip page 121. ...more
Henry Martin
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When he was not tackling sex and philosophy, Henry Miller traveled. The Colossus of Maroussi is a book of those later times, when he, an "American Savage", entered the world of peace, beauty, and most of all, simplicity he was longing for while living in America.

Nothing could prepare him for what he encountered in Greece, neither the streets of New York, nor the streets of Paris - as both paled in comparison. Although enamored with France, Miller's passion for Europe goes way farther in this bo
...more
Rick Skwiot
Nov 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Some critics call "The Colossus of Maroussi"--Henry Miller`s account of his trip to Greece on the eve of World War II--the greatest travel book ever. But, like all great travel books, it's much more than mere depiction of beautiful landscapes, missed connections, bad weather, and surly waiters--though Miller recounts those as well. Rather, the book stands as a compelling paean to the Greek spirit, to liberty, and to life--as well as a barbaric yawp prefiguring the coming cataclysm.

The Canadian c
...more
Zanna
Jul 29, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I found much of this book unreadable. Occasional luminous passages and insights nestle between large swathes of nonsense in which Miller abuses the language. Self-centred, self-indulgent ramblings of a privileged white guy abroad. Gross.
Whitaker
Mar 02, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: z_2009-read, travel
On the Road in Greece.

Okay, that’s probably an exaggeration, but the sentiment is, I think, accurate. As does Kerouac in On the Road, Miller displays the same quickening to judgment, the same contempt for the bourgeois, the same obsession for the real. Greece to him is real. Unfortunately, the Greece that he sees is anything but. Miller falls in love with a vision of Greece that is as much made of present Greek poverty and past Greek myth. Part lengthy diatribe against modern civilization, part
...more
Owen
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: greece, american-lit
Henry Miller's reputation as a writer needs little verification from the likes of me. Nevertheless, it is a pleasure to be able to confirm the abilities of a truly great author. This example of his work is in some ways a peculiar one since it was written during a turning point in modern history, namely the Second World War, and was inevitably a turning point in Miller's own life as well.

Henry Miller has not always had kind things to say about his native U. S. A. Here, in "The Colossus of Marouss
...more
Emma
...the last parts of the mosaic:

"We say erroneously that the Greeks humanized the gods. It is just the contrary. The gods humanized the Greeks. There was a Moment when it seemed as if the real significance of life had been grasped, a breathless Moment when the destiny of the whole human race was in jeopardy. The Moment was lost in the blaze of power which engulfed the intoxicated Greeks. They made mythology of a reality which was too great for their human comprehension. We Forget, in our enchant
...more
Liza Bolitzer
Sep 11, 2007 rated it it was ok
I always think that i will like travel books when i return from traveling, but that has never been the case, especially when they are written by self centered wankers like Henry Miller.
Donna
May 18, 2016 rated it did not like it
Too bad he never read Homer. It might have helped.
James Tingle
Oct 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

(My copy was actually longer than this edition by a good few pages.)

I finished this today, after not reading for a while for some reason, and can say that I overall really enjoyed the book. The only other work I've so far read by Henry Miller is Tropic of Cancer, which I thought to be a very entertaining and well written book. This one is all about Henry Miller deciding to visit Greece, staying with his writer friend Lawrence Durrell, at his home in Corfu, as a starting base for his adventures t
...more
Beth
May 10, 2011 rated it did not like it
I'm so disappointed. What a hunk of junk. I don't know what this book is supposed to be, but a travel book, it is not. This is more like some self-centered, old-fashioned guy's philosophical blathering about a trip to Greece he took ages ago -- except it's not even interesting, nor is it funny, and it doesn't make a lick of sense. He goes on and on for paragraphs and paragraphs with no seeming point, and doesn't have anything interesting to say. The best thing I can say about this book is that t ...more
Кремена Михайлова
Книгата – напоително откровение; божествена
(дано никога досега да не съм използвала тази дума).
Писателят – омайник.
Хенри Милър – идеалист, проповядващ против идеалите.

50 звезди!

Изкуших се да копирам наготово на английски от интернет, вместо да преписвам до безкрайност от безупречното българско издание.
(Стефан Стефанов не е преводач. Той е едно с Хенри Милър.)


„I would set out in the morning and look for new coves and inlets in which to swim. There was never a soul about. I was like Robinson Cru
...more
Mike
May 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone going to Greece
Recommended to Mike by: Travelin

Greece has been sneaking up on me lately. First, it was just reading about the debt crisis in the paper and discussing it with my father, whose take is that ‘the Greeks have gotten lazy.’ Then I agreed to read Herodotus’s The Histories with my buddy Kareem. All well and good- still nothing terribly suspicious. But then I started to read Henry Miller’s account of traveling throughout Greece in 1939, while sitting in a diner near my house. As I read, I heard one of the owners of the diner, a very
...more
Loran
Apr 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Nick, but he's already read it.
Miller finally departs from his shock-therapy style of incorporating the obscene in order to leap from the earth, but in no way does this diminish his poise, as he frolicks for a year in Greece with Lawrence Durrell. This work is as fanciful and full of poppycock as any other great piece by the man whose work I love so dearly I had some of it tatooed on my belly... but here the often under-praised sooth-sayer concerns himself essentially with human happiness and the folly of self-imposed sufferi ...more
Mel Bossa
Wonderful. I'd say a masterpiece. If I ever do go to Greece, I will have this book as my travel companion. Henry Miller gave himself completely over in this homage to Greece. His love for mankind is in every line. Some times it's a tough love...

The book closes with the dark ominous threat of WWII coinciding with Miller's return to New York. The timing of the trip really adds to the experience because Miller writes it like it is an urgent testimony to our world before it blows.

I urge anyone who n
...more
Maayan K
Apr 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
After a few months of effort, I'm finally abandoning this book. Once you strip away the fact that it was original and genre-bending back when it was written, you're left with only one conclusion: Henry Miller is a self-centred wanker. Yes, he can write a truly astonishing sentence here and there. But his stream of privileged-man-consciousness is unbearably boring by page 120. He is incoherent and pretentious. He has not heard of either editing, or paragraph breaks.

And I wanted to like it. Mille
...more
Catherine
Jul 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"I wondered vaguely what I might do myself to make men realize what great happiness lies in store for all of us. I sent out a benediction in every direction- to old and young, to the neglected savages in the forgotten parts of the earth, to wild as well as domesticated animals, to the birds of the air, to creeping things, to trees and plants and flowers, to rocks and lakes and mountains. This is the first day of my life, said I to myself, that I have included everybody and everything on this ear ...more
Travelin
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Here's the story. After spending months in Thessaloniki, Greece, a city which Miller understandably calls boring, I sent an email to my crazy university friend who was then finishing his Ph.D in history. I tried to describe how entertaining it was to see and hear fantastic rhetorical backflips from the simplest clerks in Greece. He wrote back to tell me that it almost sounded like this book.

Here's the thing. As I started reading it, in or not far removed from Greece, I was utterly astonished at
...more
Sabra Embury
Sep 06, 2010 rated it liked it
Driving through Big Sur from San Francisco to LA, I stopped by the Henry Miller Memorial Library and bought The Colossus of Maroussi; it was recommended by the shop-keep as "Miller's favorite work written by himself." Tropic of Cancer was already in my pile of to-read, road-trip-reading material after recommendations for its "dense, sexual force." So I figured: Why not a phase? I need to know more about Miller, and the subversive style which has made him a legend.

Colussus of Maroussi had me run
...more
Frank Farrell
Aug 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
A very opinionated man...often with a high opinion of himself, his friends and the idealized 'Greek'. Then a low opinion of his fellow Americans and the English. Obviously written before the word 'racism' was used..but surely he knew the word stereotype? If he had been 22 when he wrote then it would not have been so bad..but for a man in his forties!


He wanders about, preaching to poor people about the joys of poverty and then uses his money to upgrade to First Class as soon as life becomes unco
...more
Allen
Jun 21, 2015 rated it did not like it
Promised myself to try to get to 1/3 but quit at 1/4 after discovering one could skip 6 pages, not notice and that it made no difference. No plot, no characters, just incoherent babble.

Henry Miller was one of the names of literary giants to which I was introduced in the biography of George Orwell. Miller is best known for his novels "Tropic of Cancer" and "Tropic of Capricorn". This book was recommended by a friend who is still a friend as he has recommended other books which I have thoroughly e
...more
Jennie Rogers
This book has made me fall in love with Miller... just sayin' ...more
Iniville
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography
I read every book Miller mentioned in this memoir. Following his excellent taste was a great starting point for me as a young reader. (I read it in the spring of 1974.)
Thrasymachus
A cantankerous stream of consciousness travelogue through a Greece of memory and imagination.
John David
Apr 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
On the recommendation of his friend and fellow author Lawrence Durrell, Henry Miller set out for Greece in 1939. After a decade of frenzied writing in which both “Tropic of Cancer “and “Tropic of Capricorn” were composed, Miller’s intention was really nothing more than to relax in preparation for a journey to Tibet in which he planned to, in a popular phrase Miller himself would have despised, “find himself.”

“Colossus of Maroussi” is pure prosopography, which isn’t of course to say that he does
...more
Pamela Rogers
Nov 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely, for me, this is still the most definitive book about Greece - written in 1939, published 2 years later as the II war raged on. Henry Miller was known for writing racy books that were Not in public or school libraries during my youth, so I didn't know his work at all. Before I discovered his book, I'd already fallen in love with the country and then moved to the small island of Poros that captured my heart. Some years later, when I was reading and 'on the way with Miller' to my chosen ...more
Michael sinkofcabbages
May 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
the greatest travel book ever written?? O.K, Invisible Cites is probably number one. But this is a close second. I know many people are not really into miller. He can get kind of tiring if read one after the other. But even if you dont care for Miller; you really should try this one. Those over-the-top rants he always has in his books are truely inspiring when applied to traveling. To see someone so in love with the spirit of a place is such a wonderful thing. But this is not one of those Miller ...more
Janez
Miller's journey to Greece before the outbreak of the Second World War is a rough, poetic, cultural, philosophic hommage to Greece. It took me quite some time to grasp and comprehend what Miller wanted to say. His descriptions of Greece, of its people, of its art and of its past really compell the individual to ask himself/herself some important questions, like who we are, where are we going, what is our purpose in life. I have never experienced that in such a strong way like in Miller's Colossu ...more
Brown Catherine
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-club
Granted, Henry Miller does like to talk, and the long ramblings are not necessarily to everyone’s taste, or for that matter, maybe not for an everyday relaxing read after a long day.
BUT it’s magnificently well written, and I had to put it down repeatedly to think about what I’d just read. It’s full of witty, clever, intelligent anecdotes and thoughts. It’s a book that made me think a lot, about a lot of things.
The bit where he goes into a wild a furious rant about the poor French lady who just
...more
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Henry Miller sought to reestablish the freedom to live without the conventional restraints of civilization. His books are potpourris of sexual description, quasi-philosophical speculation, reflection on literature and society, surrealistic imaginings, and autobiographical incident.

After living in Paris in the 1930s, he returned to the United States and settled in Big Sur, California. Miller's fir
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