The Colossus of Maroussi

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The Colossus of Maroussi
First edition
Author Henry Miller
Country USA
Language English
Genre Travelogue
Publisher Colt Press
Publication date
ISBN 978-0-8112-1857-3

The Colossus of Maroussi is an impressionist travelogue by Henry Miller which was first published in 1941 by Colt Press of San Francisco. Set in pre-war Greece of 1939, it is ostensibly a characterization of the "Colossus" of the title, George Katsimbalis, a poet and raconteur. The work is frequently heralded as Miller's best.


In 1939, Henry Miller left Paris, his home of nine years, as the events of the Second World War began to unfold. A writer in need of rejuvenation, he travelled to Greece at the invitation of his friend, the writer Lawrence Durrell, who lived in Corfu. Miller had already found his voice as an author whilst an expatriate and had published some of his best-known works, including Tropic of Cancer, Black Spring and Tropic of Capricorn.[1] The text is inspired by the events that occurred during Miller's nine months living there. Miller's evaluation is tempered by the outbreak of the Second World War which eventually forced him to return to America in December 1939.[2] The book, written in New York, was influenced by Miller's resentment at having to return to his native land and his subsequent feeling of isolation.[2]


The light of Greece opened my eyes, penetrated my pores, expanded my whole being.

— Henry Miller [3]

Miller travels across Athens, Crete, Corfu, Poros, Hydra and Delphi.

The text is ostensibly a portrait of the Greek writer George Katsimbalis (the "Colossus" of the book's title), although some critics have opined that the Colossus is more of a self-portrait of Miller himself.[4]

The influence of D. H. Lawrence and Ernest Hemingway on the work has been noted.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

The work is considered to be Miller's best by critics, a view which the author himself also held.[2][5][6][7] Pico Iyer describes the novel as an "ecstatic ramble".[8] Will Self depicts Miller in the novel as "a relentless fabulist who advances solipsism to the status of one of the fine arts."[9]


  1. ^ a b Paperback Writers: Henry Miller's Grecian days - Los Angeles Times
  2. ^ a b c George Wickes (3 June 1966). Henry Miller - American Writers 56: University of Minnesota Pamphlets on American Writers. U of Minnesota Press. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-8166-0386-2. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  3. ^ Miller, Henry (18 May 2010). The Colossus of Maroussi (Second Edition). New Directions Publishing. p. 210. ISBN 978-0-8112-1857-3. Retrieved 31 May 2013. 
  4. ^ The Colossus of Maroussi By Henry Miller, Will Self, Ian S. MacNiven, p.xi.
  5. ^ Alden Whitman, "Henry Miller, 88, Dies in California," New York Times, June 9, 1980.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ The Colossus of Maroussi By Henry Miller, Will Self, Ian S. MacNiven p.x.

External links[edit]

  • The full text can be read here: [1]