1193. Arthur Miller passionate love letter in which he bears his soul to his new love and future wife, Marilyn Monroe. Miller, Arthur [to Marilyn Monroe]. Incredible Five Page Typed Letter Signed, “Art”, Quarto, five pages, dated May 17, 1956, and written to “Dear Heart; My Own Wife; My Very Own Gramercy 5; Sweetheart:” Miller writes (in part):
“I am enclosing a letter I got today from the first woman I ever knew in my life. My mother. Now maybe you will understand where I learned to write and to feel.
I know I am liable to get very sentimental and maudlin about this, but today is one of the most revelatory days of my life. I could write many pages even a volume, about what this letter brings to my mind. I think that had I died without ever receiving it, I should never have known some unbelievably simple but important things.
You see, Poo, I often try to tell you that you mean things to me beyond your body, beyond your spirit, beyond anything you can know about yourself, and it is hard for another person to understand what she –or he—really signifies to one who lovers her. I will try to tell you a few of the things you mean to me, and which became absolutely clear to me when I got this letter today. (I got it today, Thursday, by the way, because I was in Reno for my passport business, and picked up my mail at the post office.)
First let me say what I feared. They are very conventional people. That doesn’t mean they’re stiff—far from it. But they believe in family virtues, in wives being wives and husbands being husbands. They are not especially scandalized by infidelity, but neither do they forget that the big happiness is family happiness. Above all, they know how to love their children, and truly, if I ever needed anything they would die to get it for me. At the same time, my father could take advantage of me and my brother, if we let him, but he would do that as a father’s privilege; which sounds strange, but when he was a young man it wasn’t until he was twenty five or so that his father let him keep his own paycheck. Everything went into the family pot. It was the European way. So I rebelled in many ways against both of them and for many of the usual reasons, but the time came when I began to write successfully, when once again we were friends. I had established my independence from them; they understood it, and we created the necessary adult distance between ourselves, my parents and I, and yet a friendship of grown people, more or less…
Now I receive this letter. (All the above thoughts came as a result of receiving it.) I sat in the public square outside the post office in Reno reading it and my whole life suddenly seemed so marvelously magical. I had saved it! Darling, I had done the right, the necessary, the gloriously living thing at last! For suddenly I saw many questions answered, and many weights lifting off my heart.
It is not that I would hesitate to marry you if they disapproved. Truly, sweetheart, that was not it. It was that somewhere inside me I wanted their love to flow toward both of us because it would give me strength, and you too. It is not that they are my judges, but the first sources of my identity and my love. I know now that I could enjoy seeing my mother. She becomes a pest after too long with her, but that’s another thing. And it is not her, so much—not her corporeal, real being, but what she represents that I can now hold up instead of trampling on it. It is my own sexuality, do you see? I come to her with you, and to my father, and in effect I say—I am a lover. Look, I say, look at my sweet, beautiful, sexy wife. I can see my father’s pleasure at the sight of you—if only because he loves clothes, having been in that business all his life, and he will go mad seeing how you wear them! And if it will only be possible—I can see us with Bob and Jane and all of us joined with one another in joy. I see blue, clear air for the first time in my life when I think of myself and my wife and my children in the house of my parents…
Every time I had trouble with Mary, the worst threat she thought she could make was to go to my parents and tell them I had been unfaithful…She simply cannot conceive that my mother will accept you and my marriage, with you because you are a sexual being, and therefore I am, and parents are by their nature, in her mind, the punishers of sexuality not its helpers and allies…
Wife, Dear, Dear Woman—I have been thinking crazy thoughts. For instance, a wedding with maybe fifty people. Maybe in Roxbury, maybe somewhere else in a big house. And Bob and Jane there. And just a little bit of ceremony. Not fancy, but maybe my old friend Reverend Melish, a courageous and wonderful fighter for fine causes; or a Rabbi of similar background—I know one. Or maybe just somebody who can marry people. I want to dress up, and I want you dressed up; I want all my past looking on, even back to Moses. I want the kids to see us married, and to feel the seriousness and honorableness of our marriage, so that nothing Mary can say to them will ever make them believe we have sneaked away to do this, or that I have hidden myself and what I wanted to do. And I want this for their sakes as much as for my own pride and my joy; so that they will see their Grandma and Grandpa full of happiness—and crying too, of course. (Isn’t it strange?—I didn’t have my parents to my first marriage, which was in Cleveland. It could have been arranged, but I felt better not to have them there. That time I felt untrue, you see? This time I feel true, and if the world wanted to come I would embrace them all.)
Do you see why I say I am proud of you? You have given me back my soul, Darling. And thank god I knew it always; always and always since the hour we met, I knew there was something in you that I must have or die. And the revolution it implied for me was so much more than uprooting my household, my life; facing my own damning curse for depriving the children of my—as I thought of it then, and so on. The revolution was of another sort. It meant that I must face myself and who and what I am. It meant that I must put down those fearfully protective arms of reticence and blushing and all that stupidity, and put my arms around the one I loved and face the startling, incredible, simply glorious fact, that I am a tender man and not the fierce idiot I have tried—and failed—to become. How could you have known that, Darling? How I bless you that you knew it! I am near tears this minute at the miracle you are to me. How happy I will make you! What beautiful children I will give you! Oh, I will watch over you, and pest you, and worry about you.
I feel something today that marks it, like an anniversary, or more truly, my real day of birth. I have reached a kind of manhood I never really knew before. I tell you dear, I am afraid of nothing in this world. The soul of my talent is coming up in me as it has been these past six months, but now I feel it like bread in my hands, like a taste in my mouth. Because I am touching its source and not turning away from it anymore. Believe in me, Darling—I am certain enough of myself to tell you that. And worry nothing about yourself. You are beyond all danger with me because I love you like life itself. Truly, you are my life now.
Your husband, Art
[in Miller’s hand]
“Some more ----------------
PS…If we got married before you had to leave, I could then come and live openly with you and we could maybe tour around on your free time and have some fun. The problem is the lack of time before you have to leave. I’ll be back from Michigan on the 17th. The kids, by our agreement, have to be back with Mary by the 22nd, in order to have a week’s time—(a little less)—to prepare for camp, shopping, etc. Assuming I have a divorce by June 1 or a few days after—as in now planned—we would either have to do it between June 1 and June 15th; or between June 17th and July 7th…The whole problem is to juggle the time I have with them, and the time you’ll be around to attend the ceremony. Don’t worry about it, though. I’m just warning you, however,--you’ll be the most kissed bride in history when my family is there. I’ll have to fight the bastards off. I’m going to put up a sign, “ONE KISS TO A RELATIVE!” (Don’t worry, there won’t be that many.)
How I love you. My heart aches when I think of you being so tired. But you’ll perk up here right off, dear wife. OH, AM I GOING TO MAKE LOVE TO YOU, BEGINNING WITH THE SOLES OF THE FEET AND GOING DUE NORTH, UNTIL SLU-U-U-SH!—RIGHT INTO GRAMERCY PARK!
The World’s Luckiest Man Since Adam Art”
Arthur Miller was introduced to Marilyn Monroe by Elia Kazan in 1951. After the introduction, they had a brief affair to which Miller admitted to his wife, college sweetheart, Mary Slattery. Miller and Monroe were married on June 29, 1956, only days after he divorced Slattery. In this fascinating and revealing letter, Miller chronicles his deteriorating marriage and divulges deeply personal family issues. In this incredible letter, Miller lays bear issues which mirror some of the central themes his characters wrestled with in his dramas: personal and social responsibility, moral conviction, betrayal and the issues of guilt and hope.
Moderate toning, otherwise vintage very good to fine condition. Provenance: From the estate of Marilyn Monroe’s NYC attendant Mrs. Fanny Harris. With original transmittal envelope of this letter addressed to Mrs. Harris with TLS on Marilyn Monroe Productions letterhead signed by Mrs. Fanny Harris releasing Monroe of any salary claims or demands. $25,000 - $35,000