|Media type||Print (hardcover)|
|Preceded by||Black Spring|
|Followed by||The Colossus of Maroussi|
Tropic of Capricorn is a semi-autobiographical novel by Henry Miller, first published by Obelisk Press in Paris in 1939. A prequel of sorts to Miller's first published novel, 1934's Tropic of Cancer , it was banned in the United States until a 1961 Justice Department ruling declared that its contents were not obscene.
During a three-week vacation from Western Union in 1922, Miller wrote his first novel, Clipped Wings, a study of 12 Western Union messengers. It has never been published; only fragments remain, although parts of it were recycled in later works, including in the brief portraits of Western Union messengers in Tropic of Capricorn.
In the spring of 1927, Miller was living in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights with his second wife June Miller and her lesbian lover, Jean Kronski. He had recently obtained a new job working for the Parks Department. One day, he returned home to find a note saying they had taken a boat to Paris. Soon after, Miller moved back in with his parents in Brooklyn. One night in May 1927, Miller stayed at the Parks Department office after work and typed up a 32-page document he called June, outlining the details of their relationship. He would use the document as source material for Tropic of Capricorn as well as The Rosy Crucifixion trilogy.Miller would also repurpose numerous scenes into Tropic of Capricorn from his unpublished third novel Lucky Lesbians (later retitled Crazy Cock), which he worked on from 1928 to 1930 and which was ultimately published in 1991 (over a decade after his death).
Miller began writing Tropic of Capricorn in earnest toward the end of 1933 while living in Paris. At the time, he was also writing Black Spring , and putting the finishing touches on Tropic of Cancer .Early on, he referred to Tropic of Capricorn as "the June book." His biographer Robert Ferguson called the book Miller's attempt at "retrieving in written form as much as possible of the disappearing past." Although referred to as "the June book," his second wife is more of an influence than a primary character, making only a short appearance. The book is dedicated "To Her," in reference to June.
Tropic of Capricorn was published in France, in English, by Obelisk Press in February 1939.A French translation appeared as Tropique du Capricorne in July 1946. Sales of the book, along with Tropic of Cancer, were boosted by the controversy surrounding their censorship, with complaints against Miller and his publisher on charges of pornography. In the 1940s and 1950s, Miller's books were hard to find and expensive. The banned books were occasionally smuggled into the US, although they were often seized by Customs. In 1944, accompanied by his soon-to-be third wife Janina Martha Lepska, Miller read excerpts from Tropic of Capricorn and Black Spring at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.
Tropic of Capricorn was banned in the United States until a 1961 Justice Department ruling declared that its contents were not obscene.After Grove Press published the novel in the US in September 1962, Miller gained a new, younger generation of readers for his work, which coincided with the sexual revolution of the 1960s. He was seen by many as a champion of the new sexual freedom, and was endorsed by well-known literary figures of the time, including Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and Jack Kerouac.
The novel covers Miller's growing inability and outright refusal to accommodate what he sees as America's hostile environment. It is autobiographical but not chronological, jumping between Miller's adolescent adventures in Brooklyn in the 1900s, recollections of his first love Una Gifford, a love affair with his nearly-30-year-old piano teacher when he was 15, his unhappy marriage to his first wife Beatrice, his years working at Western Union (called The Cosmodemonic Telegraph Company in the book) in Manhattan in the 1920s, and his fateful meeting with his second wife June (known in the book as Mara), who he credits with changing his life and making him into a writer. The Rosy Crucifixion continues the story of June, in greater detail, over the course of nearly 1,500 pages, and also described the process of Miller finding his voice as a writer, until eventually he sets off for Paris, where the activities depicted in Tropic of Cancer begin.
Henry Valentine Miller was an American writer and artist. He was known for breaking with existing literary forms and developing a new type of semi-autobiographical novel that blended character study, social criticism, philosophical reflection, stream of consciousness, explicit language, sex, surrealist free association, and mysticism. His most characteristic works of this kind are Tropic of Cancer, Black Spring, Tropic of Capricorn, and the trilogy The Rosy Crucifixion, which are based on his experiences in New York and Paris. He also wrote travel memoirs and literary criticism, and painted watercolors.
Lawrence George Durrell was an expatriate British novelist, poet, dramatist, and travel writer. He was the eldest brother of naturalist and writer Gerald Durrell.
Tropic of Cancer is a novel by Henry Miller that has been described as "notorious for its candid sexuality" and as responsible for the "free speech that we now take for granted in literature." It was first published in 1934 by the Obelisk Press in Paris, France, but this edition was banned in the United States. Its publication in 1961 in the U.S. by Grove Press led to obscenity trials that tested American laws on pornography in the early 1960s. In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the book non-obscene. It is regarded as an important work of 20th-century literature.
Maurice Girodias was a French publisher who founded the Olympia Press, specialising in risqué books, censored in Britain and America, that were permitted in France in English-language versions only. It evolved from his father’s Obelisk Press, famous for publishing Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer. Girodias published Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, J. P. Donleavy’s The Ginger Man, and works by Samuel Beckett, William S. Burroughs, John Glassco and Christopher Logue.
Barnet Lee "Barney" Rosset, Jr. was a pioneering American book and magazine publisher. An avant-garde taste maker, he founded Grove Press in 1951 and Evergreen Review in 1957, both of which gave him platforms for curating world-class and, in several cases, Nobel prize-winning work by authors like Samuel Beckett (1969), Pablo Neruda (1971), Octavio Paz (1990), Kenzaburō Ōe (1994) and Harold Pinter (2005).
Jack Kahane was a writer and publisher who founded the Obelisk Press in Paris in 1929.
Obelisk Press was an English-language press based in Paris, founded by British publisher Jack Kahane in 1929.
June Miller was the second wife of author Henry Miller. He wrote prolifically about her and their relationship in his books, usually using the pseudonyms Mona or Mara interchangeably for her. She also appears prominently in the early diaries of Anaïs Nin.
The Rosy Crucifixion, a trilogy consisting of Sexus, Plexus, and Nexus, is a fictionalized account documenting the six-year period of Henry Miller's life in Brooklyn as he falls for his second wife June and struggles to become a writer, leading up to his initial departure for Paris in 1928. The title comes from a sentence near the end of Miller's Tropic of Capricorn: "All my Calvaries were rosy crucifixions, pseudo-tragedies to keep the fires of hell burning brightly for the real sinners who are in danger of being forgotten."
"Inside the Whale" is an essay in three parts written by George Orwell in 1940. It is primarily a review of Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller with Orwell discursing more widely over English literature in the 1920s and 1930s. The biblical story of Jonah and the whale is used as a metaphor for accepting experience without seeking to change it, Jonah inside the whale being comfortably protected from the problems of the outside world. It was published, alongside two other pieces by Orwell, 11 March 1940 by Gollancz in Orwell's first collection of essays, Inside the Whale and Other Essays.
Black Spring is a book of ten short stories by the American writer Henry Miller, published in 1936 by the Obelisk Press in Paris, France. Black Spring was Miller's second published book, following Tropic of Cancer and preceding Tropic of Capricorn. The book was written in 1932-33 while Miller was living in Clichy, a northwestern suburb of Paris. Like Tropic of Cancer, the book is dedicated to Anaïs Nin.
Mary Dearborn is an American biographer and author. Dearborn has published biographies of Norman Mailer, Henry Miller, Peggy Guggenheim and others.
Aller Retour New York is a novel by American writer Henry Miller, published in 1935 by Obelisk Press in Paris, France.
The Colossus of Maroussi is an impressionist travelogue by American writer Henry Miller that was first published in 1941 by Colt Press of San Francisco. Set in pre-war Greece of 1939, it is ostensibly an exploration of the "Colossus" of the title, George Katsimbalis, a poet and raconteur. The work is frequently heralded as Miller's best.
Quiet Days in Clichy is a novella written by Henry Miller. It is based on his experience as a Parisian expatriate in the early 1930s, when he and Alfred Perlès shared a small apartment in suburban Clichy as struggling writers. It takes place around the time Miller was writing Black Spring. According to his photographer friend George Brassaï, Miller admitted the title is “completely misleading.”
Moloch: or, This Gentile World is a semi-autobiographical novel written by Henry Miller in 1927-28, initially under the guise of a novel written by his wife, June. The book went unpublished until 1992, 65 years after it was written and 12 years after Miller's death. It is widely considered to be of interest more as a study of Miller's artistic growth than as a worthy piece of fiction.
The following is a bibliography of Henry Miller by category.
Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch is a memoir written by Henry Miller, first published in 1957, about his life in Big Sur, California, where he resided for 18 years.
Boy, James Hanley's second novel, first published in 1931 by Boriswood, is a grim story of the brief life and early death of a thirteen year old stowaway from Liverpool. After several editions had been published in 1931 and 1932, a cheap edition, published in 1934, was prosecuted for obscene libel and the publisher heavily fined.
The Air-Conditioned Nightmare is a memoir written by Henry Miller, first published in 1945, about his year-long road trip across the United States in 1939, following his return from nearly a decade living in Paris.