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Sexus: The Rosy Crucifixion I Paperback – January 12, 1994

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Henry Miller: 'American literature begins and ends with the meaning of what Miller has done.' Lawrence Durrell 'I regard Henry Miller as a master.' Colin MacInne Praise for 'Sexus': 'A huge, sprawling narrative of Miller's life in New York, "Sexus'"culminates in a description of an orgy as remarkable for its account of the author's powers of sexual endurance as for its versatility. Interspersed are descriptions of his friends, some of them extremely funny and all of them lively. The lack of inhibition and genteel or moral restraint with which Miller describes these various characters gives "Sexus" a unique vitality. Miler cannot be pompous, a rare virtue, and his honesty is absolute.' Spectator --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Henry Miller was born in 1891 in Brooklyn, New York but he soon moved to Paris. His first book 'Tropic of Cancer was published in 1934. It was followed five years later by its sister volume 'Tropic of Capricorn'. In 1940, Miller returned to the US where he wrote the 'Rosy Crucifixion' trilogy which received great praise from the likes of Eliot, Pound and Beckett. Outside of France, however it was universally banned due to its sexually explicit and candid nature and was not published until 1963. Miller died in 1980. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 506 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (January 12, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802151809
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802151803
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

HENRY MILLER (1891-1980) was an American writer and painter infamous for breaking with existing literary forms and developing a new sort of "novel" that is a mixture of novel, autobiography, social criticism, philosophical reflection, surrealist free association, and mysticism, one that is distinctly always about and expressive of the real-life Henry Miller and yet is also fictional. His most characteristic works of this kind are "Tropic of Cancer," "Tropic of Capricorn," and "Black Spring." His books were banned in the United States for their lewd content until 1964 when a court ruling overturned this order, acknowledging Miller's work as literature in what became one of the most celebrated victories of the sexual revolution.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

112 of 117 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on June 23, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In 40 years of reading, no book has had as much influence on me as Sexus, part one of Henry Miller's ribald, rambling autobiographical trilogy, based on his relationship with his wife June (here called Mara, then Mona). The events of the book center around his original meeting with Mara/Mona and from there spiral outwards in many directions, gathering in a wide variety of bizarre and loveable characters, and showcasing Miller's unparalleled ear for language and gift for description.
Yes, there is plenty of sex in Sexus, more so in fact than in any other Miller work. Yes, much of it can be dismissed as misogynistic chest-beating. The sexual passages are not sensuous or romantic or even erotic; they are satirical and in most cases hysterically funny. While some readers will of course be put off by graphic sex of any kind, those with flexible tastes are in for some good laughs, as well as virtuoso displays of first rate writing talent.
"Dirty parts" aside, this vast ocean of a book tells a powerful story that is compulsively readable throughout. It is more accessible than the "Tropics" pieces, which are more surrealist and abstract; here Miller employs a much more straightforward narrative.
This is probably one of the four or five most important works in English to be published in the 20th century (and is in many respects a repudiation of 19th century literature). Highly recommended for anyone with a halfway-open mind.
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53 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Scott A. Herbst on February 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
Sexus was a great book - one of my favorites - but not for everyone. If you are secure, settled, and happy with your life, find a different classic to read. There are plenty out there and plenty more suited to your sensibilities. However, if you feel something weighing on you - something you can hardly express - read this book. Henry Miller will give word to all the fears you've ever had and - one by one - demonstrate how to overcome them. This book (this entire trilogy) is for those who feel misunderstood - for those who need reassurance that they're not alone. If you're not of this sort, don't bother. If you are, purchase this book now. I think you shall find a friend.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy C. Barnett on January 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
Sexus is the captivating first chapter of Henry Miller's masterpiece, The Rosy Crucifiction. The first novel opens Miller's three-part personal expose` by sharing with the reader the turbulent foundation of his literary career. Set in Manhattan in the roaring twenties, we are lead through the turbulent adventures of an embittered husband, father, bread-winner and employee. As Sexus details the writer's turbulent love affairs, riotous friendships and shady encounters, it introduces the reader to Miller's then-germinating process of discovering what he came to call his "true self."
Those who have read Tropic of Cancer will recognize in Sexus his unbridled rawness and violence, and those who have read Tropic of Capricorn will recognize his fluid (though torrid) poetry and unabashed hedonism. What makes the Rosy Crucifiction his masterpiece is that he is not controlled by the impulses that dominated his earlier works; in fact, he accomplishes what few of even the greatest writers achieve: he is undeniably the master of the language, bending it to his will instead of being bound by it.
One may not like Miller. One may even find him wholy dispicable, and with good reason: he did not lead a life that most would want to emulate. But the point is not what he did, but how he expresses it. Fran Liebowitz once said, "your life story would not make an interesting novel; don't try it." What saves Sexus from being a presumptuous piece of egoism is that Miller does not try to make his life a story. An avid water-colorist, Miller's writing feels as though he is painting pictures in words rather than telling a coherent story. The result is that his prose is poetry of a quality rarely attained.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By First Things First on November 12, 1999
Format: Paperback
If you are an artist, an artist in the making, or a person who rejects the hum-drum definition of "life" "job" "relationship", and are seeking somthing much grander and more meaningful from your life, then Henry Miller should be your guru. He is enchanting, inspiring, hirarious, reckless, and....far far far above anything else, a literary master. Sexus is astonishing in its power, and charming in its silliness....and it can get really raunchy so you prudes should avoid it. Also highly recommended is Miller's "The Books In My Life" at the end of which our dear Henry lists the hundred books which influenced him most! A priceless compendium which has yielded treasure after treasure to me which I am sure I would never have heard of otherwise.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By pnf sunnyvale on November 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
I just finished reading Sexus and can't wait to read the next two, Plexus and Nexus...In my opinion, Miller is quite underrated. In this book you can feel his influence on the beats, Kerouac and Burroughs especially.
Sexus is an autobiographical novel about his relationship with Mona, his second wife, told from the perspective of many years and a continent away. In fact, this book draws a portrait of one of the great relationships in modern literature -- a crazy, intense relationship, but Miller conveys the sheer joy of falling head-over-heels in love.
Miller's books remind me a bit of de Sade's: graphic sex scenes interspersed with philosophy. But of course there's a lot more to Miller and Sexus, including vivid portraits of fascinating secondary characters, and some great descriptions of New York in the 1920's.
But the main character in Sexus is of course Miller himself. A big part of the appeal is that he comes across not as a born literary genius, but as an ordinary guy who's so unsatisfied with ordinary life that he decides, through force of will, to become a great writer. My only complaint with this edition of the book is its large size format, which is not as convenient as the small Grafton Books editions of Miller's books, which are now out of print.
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