Tropic of Cancer

Tropic of Cancer

3.6 68
by Henry Miller
     
 

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Now hailed as an American classic, Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller’s masterpiece, was banned as obscene in this country for twenty-seven years after its first publication in Paris in 1934. Only a historic court ruling that changed American censorship standards, ushering in a new era of freedom and frankness in modern literature, permitted the

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Overview

Now hailed as an American classic, Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller’s masterpiece, was banned as obscene in this country for twenty-seven years after its first publication in Paris in 1934. Only a historic court ruling that changed American censorship standards, ushering in a new era of freedom and frankness in modern literature, permitted the publication of this first volume of Miller’s famed mixture of memoir and fiction, which chronicles with unapologetic gusto the bawdy adventures of a young expatriate writer, his friends, and the characters they meet in Paris in the 1930s. Tropic of Cancer is now considered, as Norman Mailer said, “one of the ten or twenty great novels of our century.”

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“There is an eager vitality and exuberance to the writing which is exhilarating; a rush of spirit into the world as though all the sparkling wines have been uncorked at once; we watchfully hear the language skip, whoop and wheel across Miller’s page.” —William H. Gass, The New York Times Book Review

“Here is a book which, if such a thing were possible, might restore our appetite for the fundamental realities.” —Anais Nin

“American literature today begins and ends with the meaning of what Miller has done.” –Lawrence Durrell

“One of the most remarkable, most truly original authors of this or any age.” –Saturday Review

“Undeniably salacious but nevertheless serious and important literature, Miller’s novel with its ribald sexuality still provokes (and makes feminist hairs stand on end.)” —Victoria A. Brownworth, The Baltimore Sun

Publishers Weekly

Miller's once controversial story that ended up altering United States censorship laws tells of a young writer and his pals in Paris during the Great Depression. Part memoir, part fictional tale, Miller's prose is a complex mix that demands the reader's utmost attention. Campbell Scott reads with a gentle, steady voice that captures the more personal side of Miller's writing. Scott is in conversation with himself, posing questions and offering up answers apparently on a whim. His reading is incredibly rich and layered, filled with emotions and ideologies. The result is a stunning, intimate listen that will lure listeners in with its straightforward approach and keep them rapt with its raw honesty. (Sept.)

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William H. Gass
"There is an eager vitality and exhuberance to the writing which is exhilerating; a rush of spirit into the world as though all the sparkling wines had been uncorked at once; we watchfully har th elanguage skip, whoop and wheel across Miller's pages."

--The New York Times Book Review

Saturday Review
"One of the most remarkable, most truly original authors of this or any age."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802131782
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
01/06/1994
Series:
Miller, Henry
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
318
Sales rank:
86,381
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

I am living at the Villa Borghese. There is not a crumb of dirt anywhere, nor a chair misplaced. We are all alone here and we are dead.

Last night Boris discovered that he was lousy. I had to shave his armpits and even then the itching did not stop. How can one get lousy in a beautiful place like this? But no matter. We might never have known each other so intimately, Boris and I , had it not been for the lice.

Boris has just given me a summary of his views. He is a weather prophet. The weather will continue bad, he says. There will be more calamities, more death, more despair. Not the slightest indication of a change anywhere. The cancer of time is eating us away. Our heroes have killed themselves, or are killing themselves. The hero, then, is not Time, but Timelessness. We must get in step, a lock step, toward the prison of death. There is no escape. The weather will not change.

It is now the fall of my second year in Paris. I was sent here for a reason I have not yet been able to fathom.

I have no money, no resources, no hopes. I am the happiest man alive. A year ago, six months ago, I thought that I was an artist. I no longer think about it, I am. Everything that was literature has fallen from me. There are no more books to be written, thank God.

This then? This is not a book. This is libel, slander, defamation of character. This is not a book, in the ordinary sense of the word. No, this is a prolongeo insult, a gob of spit in the face of Art, a kick in the pants to God, Man, Destiny, Time, Love, Beauty ... what you will. I am going to sing for you, a little off key perhaps but I will sing. I will sing while you croak, I will dance over your dirtycorpse....

To sing you must first open your mouth. You must have a pair of lungs, and a little knowledge of music. It is not necessary to have an accordion, or a guitar. The essential thing is to want to sing. This then is a song. I am singing.

It is to you, Tania, that I am singing. I wish that I could sing better, more melodiously, but then perhaps you would never have consented to listen to me. You have heard the others sing and they have left you cold. They sang too beautifully, or not beautifully enough.

It is the twenty-somethingth of October. I no longer keep track of the date. Would you say--my dream of the I 4th November last? There are intervals, but they are between dreams, and there is no consciousness of them left. The world around me is dissolving, leaving here and there spots of time. The world is a cancer eating itself away.... I am thinking that when the great silence descends upon all and everywhere music will at last triumph. When into the womb of time everything is again withdrawn chaos will be restored and chaos is the score upon which reality is written. You, Tania, are my chaos. It is why I sing. It is not even I, it is the world dying. shedding the skin of time. I am still alive, kicking in your womb, a reality to write upon.

Dozing off. The physiology of love. The whale with his six foot penis, in repose. The bat--penis libre. Animals with a bone in the penis. Hence, a bone on ... "Happily," says Gourmont, "the bony structure is lost in man." Happily? Yes, happily. Think of the human race walking around with a bone on. The kangaroo has a double penis--one for weekdays and one for holidays. Dozing. A letter from a female asking if I have found a title for my book. Title? To be sure: "Lovely Lesbians."

Your anecdotal life! A phrase of M. Borowski's. It is on Wednesdays that I have lunch with Borowski. His wife, who is a dried-up cow, officiates. She is studying English now--her favourite word is "filthy." You can see immediately what a pain in the ass the Borowskis are. But wait....

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“There is an eager vitality and exuberance to the writing which is exhilarating; a rush of spirit into the world as though all the sparkling wines have been uncorked at once; we watchfully hear the language skip, whoop and wheel across Miller’s page.” —William H. Gass, The New York Times Book Review

“Here is a book which, if such a thing were possible, might restore our appetite for the fundamental realities.” —Anais Nin

“American literature today begins and ends with the meaning of what Miller has done.” –Lawrence Durrell

“One of the most remarkable, most truly original authors of this or any age.” –Saturday Review

“Undeniably salacious but nevertheless serious and important literature, Miller’s novel with its ribald sexuality still provokes (and makes feminist hairs stand on end.)” —Victoria A. Brownworth, The Baltimore Sun

Anais Nin
Here is a book which, if such a thing were possible, might restore our appetite for the fundamental realities.

--Anais Nin

Norman Mailer
"...one of the ten or twenty great novels of our century."

Read More

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