- Publisher: Grove/Atlantic (1994)
- Language: English
- ASIN: B002VH3AMK
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Tropic of Cancer (Paperback) Paperback – 1994
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Top Customer Reviews
Tropic of Cancer, more than any other book I've read, really develops the romantic, libidinous idea of the starving, expat artist bumming around abroad, confronting staid social values (not to mention drinking and whoring his brain out).
The idea of the artist as a ruthless outsider, as a militant seeking something fleshy and essential which the rest of humanity is only too happy to ignore is not exactly new. But in Miller's richly imagistic, sensuous prose, he really brings it kicking and screaming definitely into the modern age. At it's best, this is like reading Celine of Baudillare, it's like he's talking directly to you.
With its confrontational, body-fluid filled reveries, Tropic of Cancer feels like the linkage between early 20th century french prose, with its descriptive decadence and its misanthropy, and the work of the Beats and subsequent expatriates and exiles. There were several times when I felt less like I was reading a novel, and more like I was reading cut out sections from 'Howl'
I think Miller is something of a "poseur," and don't doubt his sexual escapades, though written in the first-person narrative, are inventions. At page 39 I had to google to see if Henry Miller died of syphilis, especially since he declared "Parisians are syphilitic." Alas, no, he lived to the ripe old age of 88, painting water colors at his commune in Big Sur, California, or perhaps giving water color lessons at Esalen Institute to new-age hippie chicks. The irony is in his book he refers to a "beautiful American woman" who comes to Paris to study art and rent a flat, as a "velvet-snooted gazelle." He was being nice with that particular epithet since Miller generally refers to women as c_ _ _s. "Resentiment," on the part of Miller, no?
Given that Sigmund Freud's right-hand man, Otto Rank, along with Anais Nin (Miller's lover) financed his 9-year stay in Paris to write what is considered by Norman Mailer and others as "one of the great novels of our century," is interesting to say the least. This is definitely not a book I would consider one of the great American novels. Most of the book is written in phrases, so true as Shapiro writes, Miller is no writer.Read more ›
Written in 1934, 'Tropic of Cancer' is still profane and funny -80 years haven't diluted it any-proving I guess Miller's idea that mankind and his desires have never changed; only the organs that stifle alter from age to age. Possibly the only thing that dates this novel to any extent is the attitude to women, who are no more than objects to go to bed with.
What drags this book down a little are the lengthy purple patches where Miller philosophises on freedom; on the need for humans to enjoy everything in the human spectrum from the base (sex with syphilis ) to the highest forms of art-ideas that have been better expounded upon by Guide and Sartre amongst others, being a French school philosophy-but which-for me- always falls down and implodes of its own contradictions and paradoxes. To have absolute freedom is total poverty or freedom from the weight of social etiquette the answer? How much destruction of anothers freedom do you commit in order to sate your own desires of freedom ?(Miller's sex object only women; young boys for pederasts) But all this is for idle debate in a bar or classroom !
This book would have gained from editing out a lot of these purple moments, but even so, you will always have the very funny "adventures of" passages and can see the foundations of the modern novel abound. More than worth it for that.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A masterpiece--a triumphant symbol of free speech and pure, raw life lived through the lens of Miller's crazed life in Paris.Published 1 month ago by bgrebel
Tropic of Cancer is not a book, it, along with its companion, Tropic of Capricorn, is the book. More than anything else of late I see Henry in the comedy of people like Daniel Tosh... Read morePublished 2 months ago by If
Alot of women dont seem to be too fond of this book,Millers writing skills are impeccable & poetic.My favorite book hands down,everyone should read this classic at least once.Published 2 months ago by Lazik
This is a writer's read for sure. While on the whole there is not any sort of plot, no eagerly awaiting the resolution of one thing or another that would typically urge a reader... Read morePublished 4 months ago by mikej