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Tropic of Cancer [Kindle Edition]

Henry Miller , Karl Shapiro , Anais Nin
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (251 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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

Amazon.com Review

No punches are pulled in Henry Miller's most famous work. Still pretty rough going for even our jaded sensibilities, but Tropic of Cancer is an unforgettable novel of self-confession. Maybe the most honest book ever written, this autobiographical fiction about Miller's life as an expatriate American in Paris was deemed obscene and banned from publication in this country for years. When you read this, you see immediately how much modern writers owe Miller.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Millers 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, Millers prose is a complex mix that demands the readers utmost attention. Campbell Scott reads with a gentle, steady voice that captures the more personal side of Millers 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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 502 KB
  • Print Length: 356 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0802131786
  • Publisher: Grove Press (December 1, 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0088Q9Y3C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,743 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
111 of 118 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
...my spiritual liberation started with Henry Miller and _Tropic of Cancer_.

I always credit him with "saving my life" and don't think this an exaggeration. As a troubled, near suicidal 15 year old, I saw _Tropic of Cancer_ on the bookshelf of my next door neighbor's - whose dog I was walking while they were away - and dove in hoping to find what reports of the obscenity trial in the New York Times would lead me to find - I was 15 and anxious for "obscenity".

No doubt, I found obscenity, but mostly I found courage! gobs of it - and joy - the courage to be who I was and just go for it - everything and everyone else be damned!

For the next decade or so, not two weeks would go buy when I wasn't reading Miller: the Topics, Black Spring, Sexus/Nexus/Plexus, The Colossus of Maroussi, Big Sur, and on and on, re-reading - but although they all recharged the joy (not to mention my vocabulary, he read the dictionary as a youth and remembered everything), nothing matched the impact of _Tropic of Cancer_.

Yes - Miller's pretentious, narcissistic and misogynistic, but he's also filled with a contagious spirit. His later works - particularly _Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch_ are more focused on true spirituality. By his late 50's he finally got the sexual obsession and misogyny under control, the earlier works are too focused on lust.

Great stuff for a 15 year old boy though! - wonderful and graphic sex scenes are interspersed with lyricism, erudition and the great joy of being alive ...no matter what...

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this to any 15 year old or 50 year old...
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242 of 265 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's life and life only...A breathtaking work. May 14, 1998
Format:Paperback
I know of no other writer who makes words truly live like Henry Miller does. "Cancer" is his best (although the neglected "Colossus of Maroussi" runs a close second), full of enthusiasm, rampant lust-driven adventures, a man living though it rain crocodiles, a visionary portrait of a person determined to live in this cracked and dying earth that will drag you down and suffocate you if you let it. Living has nothing to do with money. It has nothing to do with prestige, nothing to do with a career, with laws or codes or good sense. It has everything to do with sex, with art and inspiration, with creativity and the fire at our heels, the hunger that gnaws us from the inside out. My friends and I had a joke: "What happened in the bidet?" "Read the book!" Unfortunately I think they only knew because I told them. I carried this book around, and his others, for months, enraptured, exhuasted, tormented, joyous, breathless, during a very bleak period of my life. He kept my imagination alive. The first time I tried to read it, just after the 1990 film "Henry & June" I didn't get it. About a year or so later I tried again, and ate it up. It was like I had a tropic of cancer-sized hole in my head and I'd finally found the missing piece. No other book, except maybe "Naked Lunch," has made me realize that literature IS life, that my heart could be enlarged by one, that reading and writing weren't just hobbies or exercises--they were raw and painful necessities, as vital as breath, as flesh, as rousing and invigorating as sex at 3am that lasts til dawn. I love all kinds of writers, but I have to admit, I'm kind of a snob. To me, the real writer is one like Henry Miller, like Rimbaud, like Poe, the ones who live at the fringes of madness, who in poverty and tatters show us that it's life, and life only.
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68 of 72 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A down-and-dirty classic July 16, 2002
Format:Paperback
The back cover of Henry Miller's novel "Tropic of Cancer" notes that the book was first published in Paris in 1934, but banned as obscene in the United States for 27 years until a historic court ruling was made. Thus, "Tropic of Cancer" is significant as a historical artifact in addition to being a literary work of art. The book tells the story of an American writer named Henry Miller who lives in Paris. Henry definitely lives in the seedy underbelly of the city; the book follows him to the bars, cafes, and whorehouses and details his encounters with a number of colorful characters.
"Tropic of Cancer" opens on a grungy note as the narrator discusses the lice infestation of his friend's armpits. Early on the narrator promises that this will not be a polite book: "This is libel, slander, defamation of character [...] a prolonged insult, a gob of spit in the face of Art." Miller largely succeeds to deliver on this promise. The book is full of profanity, and there are frank discussions of sex, sexually transmitted diseases, and other such topics.
The book has a crude charm and energy throughout, even though at times the prose seems wildly self-indulgent. Miller depicts Paris as a magical place, a pilgrimage site for artists and wanderers. The narrator often reflects on writing and literature in general, and on his own artistic goals and theories in particular. There is also reflection on America and American identity. Miller's prose sometimes attains a Whitmanesque revelatory quality.
To me the main question about this book is thus: Is it merely an important historic artifact, or does it still sing as a work of living literature? My own reply to this question: the book does still sing, delivering (to quote the book itself) "bloated pages of ecstasy slimed with excrement." If you like it, also check out the writing of Charles Bukowski.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Burning this book would be no crime
This deserves to be banned, not because it is sexily explicit, but because it is simply ugly. The writing such as it is, is disjointed and like a stream of consciousness. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Chucklaw
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great
Published 29 days ago by W
4.0 out of 5 stars a great read
Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller is a shambling, chaotic, stream of consciousness’ snapshot of life by an American living on the margins in the early 1930s pre-WWII Paris, one of... Read more
Published 1 month ago by lovetobicycle
5.0 out of 5 stars I believe it was chosen for prosecution because it is so good. Miller...
This was one of the first censored books that eventually made it into wide circulation. I believe it was chosen for prosecution because it is so good. Miller is a wonderful writer.
Published 1 month ago by John Komdat
4.0 out of 5 stars Great literature
Literature - 10 stars
Plot/theme - 2 stars
Published 2 months ago by Arun R
3.0 out of 5 stars A good book but not a great one
A good book to be sure written in rich and fluent style while revealing interesting insights. However, I felt at times that the author rambled too much about his thoughts at the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by AP
1.0 out of 5 stars Do not waste your time.
I read this book as I found it in the used paperback section of the "classics" section of our local used book store. It was horrible. Read more
Published 3 months ago by C. Engleman
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Worth The Hype
I've known about this book since I was able to read--you don't forget a book named for a line on the family globe. Read more
Published 4 months ago by SamKD
4.0 out of 5 stars Good overall read...
I read Sexus and absolutely loved it 100%. Then I started this and loved it so much, I read about halfway through in one day and then got to a jam.... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Wquilliam
4.0 out of 5 stars Love Miller
I love Henry Miller's writing style - so absurdly crude and thought provoking. I thoroughly enjoyed Miller's point of perception of his life.
Bravo!
Published 6 months ago by M. Tillery
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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.

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