Monday, September 27, 2010

Henry Miller on Greek Americans

"Coming back to America I am happy to say I have never run into a type like that again [a Greek American surgeon whom Miller met during his voyage and whom he immensely disliked]. Everywhere I go [in NYC] I see Greek faces and often I stop a man in the street and ask him if he isn't a Greek. It heartens me to have a little chat with a stranger from Sparta or Corinth or Argos. Only the other day, in the lavatory of a big hotel in New York, I struck up a friendly conversation with the attendant who proved to be a Greek from the Peloponnesus. He gave me a long and instructive talk about the construction of the second Parthenon. Lavatories are usually underground and the atmosphere, one would imagine, is scarcely conducive to good talk, but I had a wonderful conversation in this particular hole and I've made a mental note to come back at intervals and resume intercourse with my new-found friend. I know a night elevator runner in another hotel who is also interesting to talk to. The fact is, the more humble the employment the more interesting I find the Greek to be."

The Colossus of Maroussi, 1958 (orig. 1941), New Directions, p. 235.

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