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Tropic of Capricorn Paperback – January 13, 1994

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Editorial Reviews


"There is nothing like Henry Miller when he gets rolling. . . . One has to take the language back to Marlowe and Shakespeare before encountering a wealth of imagery equal in intensity.” –Norman Mailer

“There is an eager vitality and exuberance to the writing . . . we watchfully hear the language skip, whoop and wheel across Miller’s pages.” —William H. Gass

“The most enthralling and hilarious explosions are the sexual ones.” —Newsweek

“A superb entertainment that brings in jeremiads, casual lyrics, and sudden reaches toward the spiritual core of life . . .” —The New York Times Book Review

“Miller has once and for all blasted away the very foundation of human hypocrisy—moral, social, and political. . . . The grandest passages are the scenes of lovemaking. They join in a grand paean to all that is still joyous, healthy, happy, and affirmative.” —The Nation

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

About the Author

Henry Valentine Miller was born in 1891 in New York City and spent most of his life in Brooklyn, Paris, and Big Sur, California. His books include Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn, the Rosy Crucifixion trilogy (Sexus, Plexus, and Nexus), Black Spring, and Crazy Cock. He died in 1980.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; Reprint edition (January 13, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802151825
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802151827
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,292 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

49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By George on June 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
Tropic of Capricorn is the gretest book I have ever read. I read Tropic of Cancer first, and was interested and intrigued by it, but not until I read Capricorn would I truly call Miller one of the greatest American writers. Also banned from the U.S for 30 years, Capricorn goes beyong the sexuality and bitterness of one who has "given up" and lived for themselves as Cancer outlines autobiographically of Millers days in Paris. In Capricorn Miller looks to the roots of his childhood and life in New York and examines what made him the man he is and brought on his great change to "a new way of life". It has elements similar to Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg Ohio, which may be its greatest moments, as it tells small "grotesque" character studies of the people that shaped his life. Miller combines ideas of Eastern mysticism with the chaos of an ever industrializing world. Capricorn goes beyond linear writing to pursue a dreamlike atmosphere: one of admitted Surrealist and Dadsist influence, whose influence in turn can be seen in the later beat writing of Kerouac and Burroughs among others.
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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful By on January 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
I first read this book when I was 16. Today, I'm 30 but I still manage to read it every two or three years to remind myself to be true to my feelings. Miller's writings, in general, are autobiographical. Some of the events have actually occurred while some are his dreams/visions. However, all are real to the man and real to most anyone who truly knows themself. There's no candy-coating here. Some reviewers see only the sexuality of the book. While that's certainly a great portion of the book it isn't what the book is about. It's about being who we want to be and freeing ourselves from the reigns of "normality" and confinement. That's why it's so disturbing. He expresses himself through his character and the characters around him. He mocks society and himself simultaneously. He is truly "human". My one desire, if I should ever be able to fulfill it, would be to write a novel that's worth ten percent of what this one is. Miller is the best friend one could possibly want to have because he doesn't cover-up his intentions.
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52 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Edward J. Carvalho on August 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
"For there is only one great adventure and that is inward, toward the self, and for that, time nor space nor deeds even matter" (4).

Miller's two tropics - CANCER AND CAPRICORN- are essentially manuals for the creative life. They present Miller's transformation from lay-schmuck working in the belly of the beast that is the American economy - jobs such as his position with the Western Union Telegraph company, which he refers to as the "Cosmococcic / Cosmodemonic Telegraph Company" - to his evolution as en expatriate writer living in Paris. The books are really designed to be read together to magnify the metamorphosis, the rite of passage. While CANCER chronicles the latter portion of Miller's experience abroad, the prequel, CAPRICORN, written five years later in 1939, is the more developed and more seminal of the two and elucidates with much greater detail the affects of his epiphany.

Most artists will immediately recognize the struggle Miller endures. Married to the "wrong" woman and with a young child in tow - a relationship which he finds stifling to his creative development - Miller faces tenable employment situations to support this life. Those jobs he does find do little to allow him to prosper; rather he finds himself as a cog on a wheel of Hell. His transformation from the morass of what society deems sound and true is painful. Anyone who has ever made such sacrifices to pursue the unspoken dreams to create from what grows inside of them will sympathize with Miller's dilemma. To pursue a life of an artist is frightening enough: to do it behind the rancorous veil of the American dream is horrifying.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Fink on June 9, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Obviously the book is a masterpiece. Please don't read amazon reviews to judge a book of this caliber.

The point of this review is just to give some notes about whether this particular Kindle version is worth getting. I was worried, because other cheap kindle editions have had major formatting errors.

This one, however, is 100% readable and fairly nicely formatted. There are a couple mistakes here and there, but nothing that would prevent this edition from being worth buying.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
Did you follow the road to Capricorn from Cancer? If so then you know what to expect from Henry Miller. Tropic of Capricorn is an account of his life up to his trek to Paris in the 1930's. Mr. Miller allows us into his world of words and images that consume his mind and soul.
In this semi-autobiographical novel, Miller gives us a glimpse into the breakdowns and revelations that brought him from the streets of Brooklyn and onto the pages of literature. From his first word, we follow him on the road to discovering his world and bringing to life the writer within. Through his free-flowing prose and vivid scenery we follow Henry from his many sexual exploits to the dark sided humor of life as only seen through his maddened eyes. This book is one of the few that truly changed my views of life and my purpose.
If you have any taste like my own and the life of Henry Miller intrigues you to no end then definitely pick up Tropic of Capricorn. Like a morsel of bread to a starving man, Capricorn only left me hungrier for more Miller to chew on. Other books I adore are, of course, Quiet Days in Clichy, Tropic of Cancer by Miller, The Losers' Club by Richard Perez
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