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In the late 1930's Henry Miller was getting his work published in Paris and decided to hand write special books for several of his friends. The Heaven Beyond Heaven was written for and given to Anaïs Nin in 1939. He describes some of his quest for life, and gives hard criticism to Nin about her writing. It contains his influences at the time: Lao-tse, astrology, theosophy, Balsac's Seraphita and Louis Lambert, Zen and mysticism. He was ready to move on from Paris and was worried about the developing war. He took this book with him to Greece and it becomes a journal of his quest for enlightenment in nature there. He then writes on the boat as he is returning to America that he is ready to embrace that he is an American.
Very few people have seen the manuscript which is at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. It is now available thanks to the Miller Estate.
The Heaven Beyond Heaven is only in the title and no where else in the book. I think that Miller got the idea of the Heaven Beyond Heaven from Lao-tse. It is where Lao-tse was transformed and reached enlightenment. Miller saw it located through the mouth of the constellation Draco.
Karl Orend wrote a long essay on The Heaven Beyond Heaven that was in Nexus volume 8 page 15. It can be found at:
Production of the Heaven Beyond Heaven:
I originally wanted to make an exact copy of the manuscript, as written on a printer’s dummy; a hardbound book with light blue cloth. The transcribed text was to be a separate book. I settled with Lightning press. They did not have a light blue cloth option, so I went with dark blue. Two volumes would need a slip case, but I could not find a reasonable cost for slip cases and decided to go with a single volume. As I initially did the transcription on my iphone, dictating and with pages on my iMac, I had to convert to either .doc or .pdf files as I remotely went through the text with Michael Paduano. I got lessons in formatting and dashes. I felt Indesign was essential for the final product as images had to be tweaked and moved. Between us, I like the transcription and there are few if any remaining typo’s.
The manuscript has different ink colors which I wanted to reproduce. Lightning press wanted a pdf file with CMYK color. It took several days of experimentation in photoshop to get the writing in a uniform color. Taking out the background took the color out. I found starting with RGB images worked best. I did everything at 600 dpi with a width of 5.75 inches. Initially after cleaning the pictures and trying to color the ink, there were many spots with invisible information that got colored. Very ugly pictures. Using a process of exporting the images to a web page eliminated most of that noise. These were large in size—72dpi. I then converted them to CMYK color and resized the images back to a 5.75 inch width and 600 dpi resolution. I then used the paint bucket to get the color I wanted and went through each image, erasing residual spots and drawing in a few lines over text that got lost when subtracting the background. In going over possible dust jackets, I am glad a switch was made to stamp the cover with gold foil. A print run of 135 copies was made, 125 numbered and 10 hors de commerce. Marketing the book was done with a mailing of 110 letters to Miller collectors around the world. When orders started to come in from Europe and Japan, I realized the expense and difficulty of sending books outside the US. I have shifted sales to Amazon and will print the paperback and kindle versions through them.