Miller, Henry: Tropic of Cancer
(researched by Jeanette Janiczek)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
The novel was published by Obelisk Press, located on 338 Rue Saint-Honore in Paris, France. It was first published n September 1934. The editor in charge of publication was Jack Kahane. All translation and other rights were reserved under the copyright. The editor in charge of publication was Jack Kahane. All translation and other rights were reserved under the copyright.
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
The first edition was published in cloth. It is unknown whether the first edition was also published in paper. Later editions of the book are found both in cloth and paper.
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
162 leaves, pp. 7 - 323.
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
There is a preface contributed by Anais Nin.
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
There were no illustrations offered in the first edition.
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
The typography of the book is readable since it is both bold and large. There are no chapter numbers, but there are clear breaks in the text. Each new chapter begins with the text being printed a quarter of the page down. Page numbers are at the bottom of the page in the center. The book as a physical object is attractive on the whole.
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
The paper is of a heavy weight. The pages are not brittle, but they are yellowed with age in appearance. The first and last pages of the book are indented due to the binding. The paper is holding up physically in many copies of the book. It mostly depends on the reader's treatment of the book as to how well it holds up.
11 Description of binding(s)
The book is bound in dark green canvas. The binding is sewn and includes a dark royal blue bookmark. The corners remain straight and unbent. On the spine there is a stripe of burgundy. In the burgundy, printed in gold, are the words: TROPIC|OF|CANCER|BY|MILLER. There are also six gold stripes on the spine. The stripes are grouped in pairs. Two pairs outline the burgundy stripe and the last pair appears close to the bottom of the spine.
12 Transcription of title page
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
Most of Henry Miller's work including manuscripts, letters, photographs, and publications are located in the Henry Miller Archives at the Library of the University of California in Los Angeles. Other holdings of his work are located in the New York Public Library, Princeton University, Harvard University, South Illinois University, Dartmouth College, Columbia University, the Brooklyn Public Library, the Library of Congress, University of Virginia, Randolph-Macon College, University of Texas, and the Humanities Research Center. The University of Virginia, Henry Miller Library, and Randolph-Macon College do not have the first edition manuscript. Henry Miller was a very prolific writer, but few of his manuscripts seem to still exist.
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
The novel begins with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson. The quote is: "These novels will give away, by and by, to diaries or autobiographies - captivating books, if only a man knew how to choose among what he calls his experiences that which is really his experience, and how to record truth truly." This is relevant since Tropic Of Cancer is based upon Henry Miller's experiences in Paris though he does not limit himself in the novel by the facts.
This novel was banned in the United States from 1934-1961 because it was ruled obscene. It was later printed by Grove Press with Barney Rosset as editor. Tropic of Cancer still has the distinction of being the first "forced acceptance of banned books in the United States."
Another unusual facet of the book is located on the page opposite the title pape. There it notes that "in preparation: Black Spring, The World of Lawrence, and Tropic of Capricorn." These three works were later published by Obelisk Press.
Anais Nin provides a preface to the novel. She was a friend and occasional benefactor of Miller's. Nin was also an author and they each criticized the other's work. Nin also underwrote the publication of Tropic of Cancer with six hundred dollars. Nin had an affair both with Henry Miller and his second wife, June.
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
1934 FIRST OBELISK EDITION White and green wrappers with drawing of crab Published in September 1934, at 50 francs, in an edition of 1,000 copies. Note: While conflicting accounts of the number of First Edition copies of Cancer exist, a publication run of 1,000 is supported by the following: Kahane notes in his 1939 autobiography, Confessions of a Booklegger, "It took nearer three sell th
e first thousand." Maurice Girodias, Kahane's son and Cancer's cover illustrator notes in his autobiography, The Frog Prince, "By the spring of 1937...some six hundred copies had been sold out of the printing of one thousand..." From Henry Miller's own
business papers [see Plate 3] it is clear that 1377 copies of Cancer had been sold by December 31, 1937. Of this amount, the first thousand had earned Miller royalties at a 15 franc rate, while the Second Printing royalties were at a 5 franc rate.
1935 SECOND OBELISK EDITION Iron gray wrappers. Pale green dust jacket with illustration of woman and crab lightly printed in gray appears as background Published September 1935, in an edition of 500 copies. Copy seen had a 60 francs sticker. We could not determine if there was an underlying price printed on the wrapper. Note: This Second Edition is 1/4 inch taller and has instances where the number of lines of type per page vary from the First Edition. As suggested in the O'Roark catalogue, switching from printed to a plain wrapper with dust jacket was the result of Fir
st Edition copies being confiscated by authorities in the U.S. and England. Disposing of the dust jacket left one with an anonymous looking book.
1935 VARIANT SECOND OBELISK EDITION Rose semi-soft wrappers. Dust jacket not seen. Published in September 1935. Note: This book is identical with the Second Edition, except for its rose colored wrappers. Missing dust jackets for this edition are common.
1938 THIRD OBELISK EDITION Light green wrappers Published in March 1938, at 60 francs, in an edition of 500 copies. Note: The fact that only 123 copies remained in stock at the end of 1937 signaled the Third Printing of Cancer in March 1938. For this printing the type has been completely reset and the pages number 318, rather than 323. Inside back flap lists 12 titles
published by Obelisk Press, the fourth of which is Miller's Black Spring. While previous editions of Cancer were printed in France, the Third through Fifth Printings have the notation "IMPRIM? EN HONGRIE" on the title page, as well as the last page of te
xt [318]. The wrapper for this printing retains the T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound quotes on the book's front, but no longer contains the illustration of the crab and lady.
1938 FOURTH OBELISK EDITION Light green wrappers Published in June 1938, at 60 francs, in an edition of 500 copies. Note: Except for substituting "FOURTH PRINTING" for "THIRD PRINTING" on the front wrapper, spine, and copyright page, this edition mirrows the Third Edition.
1938 VARIANT FOURTH EDITION Green leather boards Published in June 1938, at 60 francs. Note: While this item appears to be a limited hardbound edition, Obelisk Press never issued a deluxe limited edition of Cancer. It is believed the book was cut during the process of rebinding causing the notation "IMPRIM? EN HONGRIE," which previously app
eared at the very bottom of the title page and on page 318, has been completely removed.
1938 OBRATNIK RAKA FIRST ROMAN / NAKLADEM V. CEJKYVPRAZE EDITION Blue and white wrappers with sketch of naked lady by Henri Matisse Published in 1938. Note: Miller's first name is spelled "Henri" on the wrappers, but appears as "Henry" on both the title page and on his printed letter. The book's translator is Quido Palicka.
1939 FIFTH OBELISK EDITION Light green wrappers Published in January 1939, at 60 francs, in an edition of 500 copies. Note: Except for substituting "FIFTH PRINTING" for "FOURTH PRINTING" on the front wrapper, spine, and copyright page, this edition mirrors the Fourth Edition.
1939 FIRST BOOK LOVER'S CLUB EDITION Bluish-green paper boards. No dust jacket seen. Published in 1939. Note: The first of several pirated editions of Tropic of Cancer piracies produced in Shanghai, China, the others being Tropic of Capricorn and Black Spring. Only Cancer has the "BOOK LOVERS CLUB" notation on the title page. This edition was produced by ph
oto-offset using an Obelisk edition issued between March 1938 and January 1939.
1940 MEDVSA EDITION Light green cloth boards Published in Fall 1940 in New York City, at $7.50, in an edition of 1,000 copies, with an overrun of 200-500.
1940 FIRST MEDVSA VARIANT Terra-cotta cloth boards with illustrations. Published in Fall 1940 in New York City, at $7.50, in an edition of 1,000 copies, with an overrun of 200-500.
1940 SECOND MEDVSA VARIANT Terra-cotta cloth boards; Unlettered. The three illustrations are glued to the sides of printed pages 11, 129, and 239. Published in Fall 1940 in New York City, at $7.50, in an edition of 1,000 copies, with an overrun of 200-500.
1940 THIRD MEDVSA VARIANT Dark red large woven cloth boards Published in Fall 1940 in New York City, at $7.50, in an edition of 1,000 copies, with an overrun of 200-500.
1940 FOURTH MEDVSA VARIANT Reddish-brown tightly woven cloth boards. Black lettering on spine. Published in Fall 1940 in New York City, at $7.50, in an edition of 1,000 copies, with an overrun of 200-500.
1940 FIFTH MEDVSA VARIANT Reddish-brown tightly woven cloth boards. Gold lettering on spine. Published in Fall 1940 in New York City, at $7.50, in an edition of 1,000 copies, with an overrun of 200-500.
1940 SIXTH MEDVSA VARIANT Imitation maroon leather boards. Illustrations between: pp. 34-35, pp. 122-123 and pp. 242-243. Published in Fall 1940 in New York City, at $7.50, in an edition of 1,000 copies, with an overrun of 200-500.
1940 SEVENTH MEDVSA VARIANT Very thin magenta wrappers Published in Fall 1940 in New York City, at $7.50, in an edition of 1,000 copies, with an overrun of 200-500.
1940 EIGHTH MEDVSA VARIANT Stiff cream cardboard wrappers Published in Fall 1940 in New York City, at $7.50, in an edition of 1,000 copies, with an overrun of 200-500.
1940 NINTH MEDVSA VARIANT Blue wrappers. Lettering on spine. Published in Fall 1940 in New York City, at $7.50, in an edition of 1,000 copies, with an overrun of 200-500.
1940 TENTH MEDVSA VARIANT Blue wrappers. No lettering on spine. Published in Fall 1940 in New York City, at $7.50, in an edition of 1,000 copies, with an overrun of 200-500.
1945 SIXTH OBELISK EDITION Blue wrappers. Acid in paper of pages. Published in August 1945, at 175 francs, in an edition of 10,000 copies. Note: Although "IMPRIM? EN HONGRIE" appears on the title page, this edition was printed in France.
1945 VARIANT SIXTH OBELISK EDITION This variant edition of Cancer occurred when the leaves were trimmed to 7, rather than 7 1/2 inches, causing the colophon "IMPRIM? EN HONGRIE" to be cut from the title page.
1945 SECOND POST-WAR VARIANT White wrappers; was not seen.
1947 LOTUS PRESS EDITION Cream wrappers Published in March 1947, at 300 francs.
1947 SECOND LOTUS EDITION Cream wrappers This edition closely follows the First Lotus Edition [A9w] but has a slightly different wrapper color (especially on the spine), an altered copyright page, and deletes the colophon which appeared on p. [318] of the First Lotus Edition.
1947 FIRST DEUX-RIVES EDITION Orange and tan illustrated wrappers. With illustrations Published September 1947, in an edition of 750 copies.
1948 TENTH OBELISK EDITION Red wrappers Published on June 20, 1948, at 400 francs.
1948 IDEAL CATHOLIC READER BINDING Illustrated gray and orange cloth boards. Rebinding of 1948 Olympia Press edition.
1949 ELEVENTH OBELISK EDITION Red wrappers Published on June 30, 1949, at 400 francs.
1950 TWELFTH OBELISK EDITION Red wrappers Published May 25, 1950, at Fr. 500. A9dd 1952 THIRTEENTH OBELISK EDITION Red wrappers Published in April 1952, at 600 francs.
1953 FOURTEENTH OBELISK EDITION Red wrappers Published in July 1953, at 600 francs.
1953 FIRST KEIMEISHA EDITION Red cloth boards Published on October 26, 1953, at ?1200, in an edition of 1,000 copies.
1954 FIFTEENTH OBELISK EDITION Red wrappers Published in 1954.
1956 SECOND KEIMEISHA EDITION Red cloth boards Published on March 25, 1956, at ?700, in an edition of 1,000 copies.
1956 SIXTEENTH OBELISK EDITION Red wrappers Published in 1956, at 600 francs.
1956 KEIMEISHA-LIKE EDITION Dark red cloth boards Published in 1956, at ?700.
1957 SEVENTEENTH OBELISK EDITION Red wrappers Published in September 1957, at 600 francs.
1958 EIGHTTEENTH OBELISK EDITION Red wrappers Published in May 1958, at 600 francs.
1959 NINETEENTH OBELISK EDITION Red wrappers Published on April 15, 1959, at 690 francs.
1959 TWENTITH OBELISK EDITION Red wrappers Published on September 15, 1959, at 690 francs.
1959 EDITION / FIRST TAIWAN PIRACY / FIFTH PIRACY Cream-yellow wrappers flecked with green fibers
1959 SECOND TAIWAN PIRACY Brown cloth boards. Cover unlettered. Colophon on p. [306] reads: ACHEV? D'IMPRIMER / LE 15 SEPTEMBRE 1959...
1959 SECOND TAIWAN PIRACY Brown cloth boards with silver sunburst on cover
1960 FIRST KEIMEISHA PAPERBACK Yellow wrappers Published on June 10, 1960, at ?700, in an edition of 1,000 copies.
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
There was one printing of the first edition that created one thousand copies. This printing took almost three years to sell all the copies.
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
1961 FIRST GROVE PRESS SIGNED EDITION Brown marbled paper boards Published on June 24, 1961, in an edition of 100 signed and numbered copies.
1961 FIRST GROVE PRESS TRADE EDITION Blue and black marbled paper boards. Blue dust jacket. Published on June 24, 1961, at $7.50, in an edition of 30,000 copies. Note: To distinguish a First Printing dust jacket from later printing as well as book club editions, the following points are offered: The First Printing has no Roman numerals on the back dust jacket (i.e., "ii" signifying a second printing dust jacket);
there are no letters and numerals on the spine area of the dust jacket (i.e., "GP-253" appears on some later printings); the lettering "TROPIC / OF / CANCER" on the inside front dust jacket flap appears in blue versus black for book club editions, and fin
ally, the book club jackets delete the price $7.50 which also appears on the front inside flap. Numerous copies have been seen with tipped in title and copyright pages. It is believed these were done at the time of the boxed set as most copies seen have d
ust jackets with numbers on the spine.
1961 FIRST BOOKTHRIFT EDITION Black textured vinyl boards. Blue dust jacket Published in 1961. Note: The title page, pagination, and collation of this book club edition follows the First Grove Press edition of Cancer. The binding and the notation on the bottom of the copyright page identifying this edition as published by Simon & Schuster under the
Bookthrift title, distinguishes it from other editions of Cancer. The Bookthrift edition is printed on lighter weight paper resulting in the leaves having a total thickness of 15/16 inch, versus the 1 1/8 inch thickness of the Grove Press Edition.
1961 THIRD TAIWAN PIRACY Green cloth boards. Blue dust jacket Published in 1961. Note: This Taiwan piracy is a photo-offset of the Grove Press First Edition, Trade Issue of Cancer. Text and dust jacket follow the Grove Press Edition with a reduced leave size, thinner paper and di
fferent binding. Robert Wilson wrote in Modern Book Collecting that Taiwan piracies are not produced to compete with the American publishing market and are, in fact, illegal to import for distribution in the United States. A9vv 1961 FOURTH TAIWAN PIRACY Blue cloth boards. Blue dust jacket Published in 1961.
1961 FIRST GROVE BLACK CAT PAPERBACK EDITION Blue wrappers 1st - 4th & 6th - 9th Printings: Published at 95¢, all edges stained blue. 10th Printing: Published on 10-12-66 in an edition of 49,677 copies, all edges stained blue. Note: The original First Printing blue wrapper continued through the Tenth Printing of the Black Cat Cancer. The gray lettering on the spine was overprinted on the underlying white letters, and a variety of densities have been encountered from dark gray t
o light gray. A copy of the 1st Printing has been seen with no black ink on the wrappers. The 4th Printing uses white ink only for the lettering "BY HENRY MILLER" on the spine. For information on the 5th Printing see A9zz. In a letter to Alfred PerlÈs dated 10/10/61, Miller writes that 2 million copies of this paperback edition were printed.
1961 TWENTY-THIRD OBELISK EDITION White wrapper Published on November 25, 1961, at 12,75 N.F.
1962 TWENTY-FOURTH OBELISK EDITION White wrappers Published on November 30, 1962, at 9.50 N.F. Note: This book now becomes the last known Obelisk Press Edition of Miller's Tropic of Cancer.
1963 FIRST JOHN CALDER EDITION Gray cloth boards. Blue dust jacket Published March 28, 1963, at 25 shillings, in an edition of 3,000 copies. Note: Erattum slip included in this edition reads: The first edition of "Tropic of Canc / er" about 3,000 books were in this condition / of having pages 288 and 259 transposed...
1963 FIRST JOHN CALDER CORRECTED BRITISH EDITION Blue cloth boards Note: Except for the difference in boards and the correction of the previously exchanged pages, this edition and its dust jacket are the same as A9yy, the First British Edition of Cancer. A9yy has gray boards and 3,000 copies of it had been incorrectly pr
inted, with pages 288 and 259 transposed.
1963 GROVE BLACK CAT FIFTH PRINTING Blue wrappers Published in 1963, at 95¢. Note: The wrappers of this Beacon piracy are were bought and rebound by Grove Press. The Shapiro Introduction and the Nin Preface were deleted. The type has been reset and now ends at p. 288 verses p. 287. Chapter numbers have been added. The printing is
cheaply done and the cutting of the pages at times actually runs into the printed text and on other pages the text is bound so close to the spine that some words are unreadable. The text for this edition was printed without authorization by Beacon Books, a subdivision of Universal Publishing and Distributing Corp. Grove Press was defending the publishing of Tropic of Cancer in several cities. As they felt there was no effective c
opyright, they felt forced to pay $30,000.00 to Beacon Books, preventing these 400,000 copies from being issued. A Grove title page and the blue wrapper were placed on the books, which were later distributed by Grove.
1965 KITA KAIKISEN FIRST SHINCHU-SHA EDITION Orange paper boards. Orange and black dust jacket Published on March 30, 1965. Note: This edition of Tropic of Cancer is part of The Collected Works of Henry Miller. It is Volume 1 of this 13 volume series.
1965 FIRST PANTHER PAPERBACK EDITION Black wrappers with an orange sphere with red line dissecting its top 1/3 Published in 1965, at 60 pence. Note: As with all British editions of this work, the Nin introduction is absent.
1968 SECOND BLACK CAT WRAPPER DESIGN White wrappers 11th & 12th Printings: Published at 95¢, all edges stained blue. 14th - 16th Printings: Published at $1.25, all edges stained green. 17th Printing: Published in May 1973, at $1.95. 18th Printing: Published in January 1974, at $1.95. 19th Printing: Published in October 1974, at $1.95. 20th Printing: Published in November 1975, at $1.95.
1970 FIRST CASTLE BOOKS EDITION Yellow vinyl boards. Blue dust jacket Published in 1970, at $7.50.
1970 THIRD BLACK CAT WRAPPER DESIGN White wrappers with a color photograph from the film Published in 1970, at $1.75.
1970 OBRATNIK RAKA FIRTST TATRAN EDITION Light gray cloth boards with a sketch of naked ladies by Picasso Published in 1970. Note: This edition is notable because of the use of a dust jacket illustration and 12 pages of erotic line drawings by Picasso.
1973 FIRST LITERARY GUILD BOOK CLUB EDITION Black cloth boards. No dust jacket seen. Published in April 1973, at $7.95, in a three volume set.
1973 FIRST BOOK CLUB EDITION Gray leather grained paper boards. No dust jacket. Published in 1973.
1973 FIRST BALLANTINE EDITION Blue wrappers Published in August 1973, at $1.95.
1974 FIRST GRANADA PAPERBACK EDITION Black Wrappers Published in 1974, 1982 Edition published at £1.95.
1975 SECOND BALLANTINE WRAPPER DESIGN White and yellow wrappers Published in January 1975, at $1.95.
1975 FIRST EVERGREEN EDITION Blue wrappers Published in 1975, at $4.95. Note: The copyright page indicates that the First Evergreen Edition was published in 1975, a publishing confirmed in the 1976 edition of Books in Print. However, when the Second Evergreen Edition was printed in 1987, the copyright page indicated 1980 as t
he date of the First Evergreen Edition.
1977 FOURTH BLACK CAT WRAPPER DESIGN Black wrappers 21st Printing: Published in 1977, at $1.95. 22nd & 23rd Printings: Published in 1978, at $2.50. Note: For this Twenty-first Printing, the wrappers have been re-designed and include a prominent quote by Norman Mailer on the front: "The greatest living American writer...."
1977 THIRD BALLANTINE WRAPPER DESIGN Black wrappers Fourth Printing Published in December 1977, at $2.50. Fifth printing Published in August 1978, at $2.50.
1981 FIFTH BLACK CAT WRAPPER DESIGN Black wrappers 25th Printing: Published in 1981, at $2.50. 26th(a) Printing: Published in 1982, at $3.95. 26th(b) Printing: Published in 1982, at $4.95. 30th Printing: Published at $4.95. Note: This fifth wrapper design for the Grove Black Cat edition of Cancer includes a new quotation by Norman Mailer on the front: "One of the ten or twenty / great novels of our century." The copy inspected was listed as the "Twenty-fifth Printing 1981,"
but we were unable to determine if this is in fact the first printing to use this new wrapper.
1982 FIRST BOOK ASSOCIATES EDITION Forest green cloth boards. Light green dust jacket Published in 1982.
1983 FIRST MODERN LIBRARY EDITION Reddish brown vinyl boards. Tan dust jacket with a woodcut illustration of Henry Miller by Stephen Alcorn Published May 1983, at $7.95. Note: Later printings have higher prices but number of printing is not recognized.
1986 FIRST GRAFTON PAPERBACK EDITION Black wrappers with an orange sphere with red line dissecting its top 1/3 Copy seen published in 1990, at £3.99.
1987 SECOND GROVE EVERGREEN EDITION Blue and black illustrated wrappers with "Male Model" by Henry Matisse 1st Printing: Published at $7.95. 2nd Printing: Published at $8.95. Note: On the copyright page of this Second Evergreen Edition of Cancer, it is noted that the First Edition was published in 1980.
1990 THIRD EVERGREEN / FIRST GROVE WEIDENFELD EDITION Blue and black wrappers with "Male Model" by Henry Matisse 3rd - 5th Printings: Published at $10.95. 6th - 9th Printings: Published at $11.95.
1993 FIRST FLAMINGO EDITION Red, yellow and white illustrated wrappers Published in 1993, at £5.99.
1993 FOURTH GROVE EVERGREEN EDITION Black wrappers with photo by Mikio Ishizaki Published in 1993, at $11.95.
1993 FIRST BOOK CLUB PAPERBACK EDITION Wrappers with multicolored drawing Published in 1993.
1995 FIRST SIGNET CLASSIC EDITION Magenta and Pruple wrappers with photo: Foxtrot by Alexander Rodchenko Published in 1995, at $5.95.
6 Last date in print?
Tropic of Cancer is still in print to this day. Since it has become a modern American classic, it will probably remain in print for quite some time.
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
According to A History of Book Publishing in the United States Volume IV, Tropic of Cancer has sold more tham three million copies by 1981. This includes the sales figures of all editions amd their printings.
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
This information could not be found at t
his time.
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
Many advertisements could be found when this book became available in the United States. Since the book had been banned for almost thirty years, a lot of attention was paid to the fact that it had once been censored to try and help boost sale
s. No ads could be found before the book was published in the United States, but they could be found before the Supreme Court ruled that it was not obscene. Many ads placed by Grove Press appear in the same format of offering quotes from famous writers
and critics. These could be found in most major newspapers. This advertisement was taken from The New York Times Book Review in June of 1961. It follows the same foemat as other ads place in different places. "The litereay world has long hailed Tropic of Cancer as a major masterpiece. T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, George Orwell, Edmund Wilson, Lawremce Durrell, Norman Cousins, Sir Herbert Read, and many other leading writers of our time have characterized Tropic of
Cancer as a modern American classic. Yet it has taken 27 years for Henry Miller's most important amd, in the opinion of many, best work to be published in his own country. Lawerence Durrell: "For me, Tropic of Cancer stands beside Moby Dick. American literature today begins and ends with the meaning of what he has done. To read Tropic of Cancer is to understand how shockingly romantic all European writing after Rosseau ha
s become. In Miller's book all the passions are there, stripped of their romantic envelope; itwas not a book due to puritanical shock...It was the book of someone whose fidelity to himself had conquered the narrow confines in which we normally hem the r
ange of subjects permissible to art." Sir Herbert Read: "One of the most significant contributions to the literature of our time." Karl Shapiro: "I call Henry Miller the greatest living author because I think he is.....Miller's achievement is miraculous: he is screamingly funny without making fun of sex, the way Rabelais does...Miller is accurate and poetic in the highest degree; th
ere is not a smirk anywhere in his writings. Miller undoubtedly profited from the mistakes of his predessors; his aim was not to write about the erotic but to write the whole truth about the life he knew..." John Ciardi: "Certainly there can be no doubt that Tropic of Cancer is a substantial work of art." Norman Cousins: "My congratulations on the courage and good taste which had led you to plan an American edition of Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer. Henry Miller is both condiment and nutriment. With the passing of the years his fare is much less exotic
ally remote than it once seemed. It may be that we are growing up with him. In any case, we can celebrate our return to the feast. Tropic of Cancer is one of the noteworthy books of this century, as Miller is one of the adornments of modern American li
terature." Horace Gregory: "Tropic of Cancer is one of the very few American novels coming out of the 1930's that is better today then when it was written and twice as much alive. As I reread the book I keep thinking of Huckleberry Finn - this book is Huck Finn in
Paris, a living twentieth century Huck Finn, as unique as Huck himself.""
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
11 Other promotion
Grove Press attended the ABA Convention in 1961 and placed Henry Miller's photo prominiently in thier booth. They raffled off autographed, limited edition copies of He
nry Miller's Tropic of Cancer. Due to this promotion, Grove Press received over six thousand orders for the novel at the convention. Because the book was banned and the post office refused to deliver the book shipments and the Supreme Court was ruling
on the book as obscene or not, Grove publishing received a lot of free press. The publishing house was constantly sending out press releases. Many related to how the Court case was going or pertaining to the decision. Others were about who was actualli
ng going to sell the book. One such article appears in Publishers' Weekly's June issue where Bretano had changed its mind and that it would sell the book. Doubleday, Scribner Book Store, and Macy had decided not to seel the novel.
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
The book was turn
ed into a film version with the same title. It was created by Paramount Pictures Ltd. in 1970. The film runs appromiately 87 minutes. The screenplay was by Joseph Strick and Betty Botley. It was produced and directed by Joseph Strick.
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
There have b
een many translations of Tropic of Cancer. The book has been translated into English, French, Spanish, Japanese, Russian, Chinese, Greek, Dutch, Yiddish, Sweddish, Italian, German, Korean, Polish, Manadrin, Vietmanese, and Serbo-Croatian. Other language
s unidetified have Tropic of Cancr titled as Obratnik raka: roman, Rakova obratnica, and Krepsens vendekrets.
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
Due to the sensitive material in Tropic of Cancer, this novel has not been serialized.
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
The Tropic of Capircorn is a prequel to the novel thou
gh it was written after Tropic of Cancer. Tropic of Capricorn is about Miller's life in the United States before he went to Paris.
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
Henry Miller was born in a section of New York City on December 26, 1891. His father was a tailor named Heinrich Miller and his mother was a housewife named Louise Marie Nieting Miller. His family moved to Brook
lyn shortly after his birth and this is where he grew up. As a child, Miller was surrounded by immigrants and other cultures. He even learned German before English. His childhood essentially consisted of running wild in the streets and experiencing lif
e. His personality was shaped mainly after his father who was easygoing and gregarious. Miller never spoke well of his mother whom he found to rigidly conventional and strict. There was a touch of insanity that ran througout his family and his sister w
as touched by it. Miller graduated second in his class from high school. He went on to City College, but quit after one term. Miller came mainly from a family that worked with their hands; though a few poets and musicians can be found. He held a numbe
r of various jobs such as:field laborer, employment manager, and gravedigger. He constantly struggles to put food on the table while persuing his hobby of writing. In 1930, he goes to Paris to become an expatriate writer. He continues to live hand to mouth and holds many odd jobs in relation
to publishing/writing. Miller makes a great number of friends in the literary world and sponges off them to survive. It was in Paris where Miller was first discovered as a writer. An American literary agent, William Aspenwall Bradley, discovered Tropic of Cancer and brought it to the attention of Jack Kahane. Kahane was an English Expatriate who own a notorious publis
hing house of Obelisk Press. The publishing house was known for challenging the limits of censorship and Tropic of Cancer was like many of the others on its book list. Miller signed a contract with Obelisk Press in October of 1932. Tropic of Cancer was
considered too much of a risk to publish. Kahane tested the waters by first printing Miller's study of D.H. Lawrence to establish Miller's reputation as a serious writer in 1933. At the age of forty-two, Miller's first book published was a disappoin
tment. Finally, in 1934, Tropic of Cancer was published and was greeted with applause by the literary community. It would not become a financial success until much later. Between 1934 and 1937, no more than a thousand copies were sold. It was also ban
ned by the United Sates and England. It would not be until 1961 that the book would be published by the Grove Press at the insistance of the owner, Barney Rosset. It sold 68,000 copies the first week it was published in the United States. From 1940 to
his death, Miller returns to America to write. His works could only be sold in foreign markets until 1961 due to censorship. Henry Miller can be considered a ladies' man. He was married five times and had numerous affairs. In 1917, he married Beatrice Sylvas Wickens and had one daughter named Barbara. They divorced and he married June Edith Smith in 1924. They also divorce
d and he married Janina Martha Lepska in 1944. They had two children named Valentine and Tony. This marriage also ended and he moved onto marry Eve McClure White in 1953. This was his last divorce and he went on to marry Hoki Hiroko Tokuda in 1967. He
remained married to her until his death on June 7, 1980 in Pacific Palisades. He was nearly blind, deaf, and his mind had completely gone by this time. His cause of death was cardiovascular failure. Henry Miller was a very prolific writer. He wrote many books, articles, and letters in his lifetime. Major collections of his papers can be found at the UCLA Library, the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, the University of Texas, the Dartmouth Co
llege Library, and the Southern Illinois University Library. A list of Henry Miller's publications are as follows:Tropic of Cancer, What Are You Going To Do About Alf?, Aller Retour New York, Black Spring, Scenario, Max and the White Phagocytes, Money A
nd How It Gets That Way, Tropic of Capricorn, The Cosmological Eye,Hamlet, The Colossus of Maroussi, The Wisdom of the Heart, Sunday After the War, The Angel is My Watermark, The Plight of the Creative Artist in the United States of America, Murder the Mu
rderer, Semblance of a Devoted Past, Varda: The Master Builder, Obscenity and the Law of Reflection, Why Abstract?, The Air-Conditioned Nightmare, The Amazing and Invariable Beauford De Laney, Patchen: Man of Anger & Light, Maurizius Forever, Remember to
Remember, The Smile at the foot of the Ladder, Sexus, The Waters Reglitterized, The Books in My Life, Plexus, The Time of the Assassins: A Study of Rimbaud, Quiet Days in Clichy, Devil in Paradise, Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymous Bosch, Art and the
Outrage: A Correspondence About HM, Reunion in Barcelona, Nexus, Stand Still Like the Hummingbird, Just Wild About Harry: A Meol-Melo in Seven Scenes, HM on Writing, Greece, Journey to an Antique Land, Order and Chaos Chez Hand Reichel, My Life and Times
, Reflections on the Death of Mishima, On Turning Eighty, First Impressions of Greece, Reflections on the Maurizius Case, The Immortal Bard, Book of Friends: A Tribut to Friends of Long Ago, Four Visions of America, Gliding Into The Everglades and Other E
ssays, Mother: China: And The World Beyond, My Bike & Other Friends, An Open Letter to Stroker, Love Between the Sexes, Joey, Notes on "Aaron's Rod" and Other Notes Lawrence From The Paris Notebooks, The Worls of Lawrence: A Passionate Appreciation, Refl
ections, and Opus Pistorum.
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Tropic of Cancer was written in English, but it was first published in Paris, France. The novel was not allowed to enter any English-speaking country for twenty-seven years. Due to this fact, no reviews in English could be found around the period of its original publication. With further research done in French, reviews could be found. The first reviewers of The Tropic of Cancer were Henry Miller's own friends. Many of his friends were fellow writers with impressive reputations. Katherine Anne Porter, Kay Boyle, Aldous Huxley, Stuart Gilbert, Ezra Pound, and T.S. Eliot praised his work in letters written to Miller. Ezra Pound believed that Miller was a better writer than James Joyce and Virginia Woolf. T.S. Eliot believed Miller surpassed D.H. Lawerence. Due to the reputations of these other respected writers, the French began to take notice and criticize Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer.
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Tropic of Cancer was written in English, but it was first published in Paris, France. The novel was not allowed to enter any English-speaking country for twenty-seven years. Due to this fact, no reviews in English could be found around the period of its original publication. With further research done in French, reviews could be found. The first reviewers of The Tropic of Cancer were Henry Miller's own friends. Many of his friends were fellow writers with impressive reputations. Katherine Anne Porter, Kay Boyle, Aldous Huxley, Stuart Gilbert, Ezra Pound, and T.S. Eliot praised his work in letters written to Miller. Ezra Pound believed that Miller was a better writer than James Joyce and Virginia Woolf. T.S. Eliot believed Miller surpassed D.H. Lawerence. Due to the reputations of these other respected writers, the French began to take notice and criticize Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer.
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
Tropic of Cancer is a novel based upon its author, Henry Miller. He created a new form of writing: a tale about the author as he sees himself. Since the book is about him, Miller's persona as seen by the public
was very important. He came from the streets of Brooklyn and later roamed the streets of Paris. He was a common man that taught himself how to write with little education. He was the personification of what America was supposed to be. He was a self-ma
de man that had arrived yet questioned how he got there. He struggled to publish his work in the land of the free. The struggle within the novel was true to real life. He had to force himself on the land of his birth. He was an outsider from the educa
ted class that solely relied upon his wit to survive. Miller created the person he wanted to be by begging and working odd jobs. This an American success story about a person who felt completely alienated by the world around him. Apart from making good, Henry Miller was also a person that indulged in the vices of flesh. While some fabrication of the truth can be assumed, his sexual exploits were described explicitly throughout the book. He was played up as a lady's man. He had
a track record of five marriages with wives that were normally a lot younger than he was. Lepska and Eve, his third and fourth wives, were over thirty years younger than him. During most of these marriages, Miller had countless affairs. This angle was
played up as a means of publicity for Tropic of Cancer and his other works. He was interviewed by Playboy and photographed at eighty playing table tennis with a nude girl. He even dated a few playboy bunnies in his seventies. Henry Miller was marketed as an extremely sexual man, which was not far from the truth. At the end of his life, this was mo
stly an illusion. Miller would pose for the shots of him with naked women for his fans. This is what everyone expected and he did not want to let the down. Miller would do anything for his fans. When he moved to Pacific Palisades, he opened his home t
o the fans. Eventually, he had to give up this practice and move to the more isolated spot of Big Sur. Miller was an extremely prolific author who wished to keep his admirers happy and would do just about anything to satisfy them. Henry Miller was also photographed with the best known authors of the time. He was constantly toted a man who knew all of the great living authors and was friends with them. Throughout his lifetime, Miller was always trying to legitimize his work. He d
id not want one component of his work(sex) to define him. If one only learned about sex from Miller, then the entire message was lost on the reader. The critics were always calling into question his legitimacy as a serious author. Some found his views
on life as poignant while others believed that the problem with Miller is he thinks he thinks. Some critics point out that everything he meditates upon as stale and already done. Others see it as old ideas with a twist of modernity thrown in. The criti
cs will always bicker amongst themselves on books, but one thing is very clear: there is no middle ground with Tropic of Cancer. Henry Miller's genius as a writer is his ability to profoundly effect the reader. The reader has two options: to either fall in love with his books or be throughly disgusted by them. There is no middle ground. Due to this strong reaction, few cr
itics straddle the fence when reviewing Tropic of Cancer, his first novel published within the United States. The reviews were very favorable towards the beginning due to censorship. Once it was settled that the book would not be banned, the reviews too
k a turn for the worse. Some like Miller's honesty in his work. He tries, more than any other author, to portray life as it really is. Others point out that all of the sex scenes can not possibly be true and are a figment of his imagination. Miller wr
ites from a stream of consciousness that most find refreshing. Others compare him to a drunk at a party that continues to ramble on about an uninteresting topic. Most enjoy his use of strong, short sentences that recalls a graphic image for the reader.
Some do not approve of his use of curse words. All find that he places to many weak sentences in his works. The use of explicit sex is also called into question. There was a severe feminist backlash due to his portrayal of women as objects. Some woul
d say that they missed the whole point of the novel. The novel was not about sex; sex was only a small facet of life that Miller was commenting upon. Yet, many critics nit picked on small components of his writing while not commenting on the piece as a
whole. Each critic has his own agenda that they wanted to get across. All note that he combines many different elements of style to create a new form of writing. Miller has also been noted as creating a new era of writers that emulate his style and for
m. Most critics find Tropic of Cancer a refreshingly brutal piece about life. The general public also agreed and this led to its success. The public and critics also agreed that the movie was an absolute failure. The book was turned into a film version with same title. It was created by Paramount Pictures Limited in 1970. The film had poor box office returns and was panned by the critics unilaterally. The film adaption of Tropic of Cancer was destined to be po
or. The book is about a character that was questioning his existence and the world around him. The main character's musings is what elevated the book into a piece of literary work. These musings were mixed within a plot line that contained many explici
t sexual acts and little conversation. The supporting characters are often considered flat by the critics, but their main purpose is to interact with the main character and not to detract attention from him. All of these factors translate into a bad mov
ie script. Most of the main character's musings are left out, which means the message of the book is eliminated from the movie. The sexual acts are also downplayed or left out since Paramount Pictures did not wish to attain an X rating for the movie. S
ince the book holds little action, so does the movie. The movie is also set within the seventies so it fits in with all of the other movies produced at this time. Essentially, this movie was released in an attempt to share in the monetary success of the
book. The book, luckily, did not suffer in popularity due to this movie. The only way to understand what the movie's plot line was about was to read the novel. If nothing else, confused moviegoers read the book to try and understand the movie. If the movie d
id turn off its audience with the book, luckily the number of people that saw the movie was extremely low. It was considered an artsy movie so most people that saw the movie most likely had already read the book. The movie was also released in only a fe
w cities due to its early failure. This occurrence is extremely common in the United States. Thomas Mann's novella, Death in Venice, suffered a similar failure. The movie was also considered "artsy" and was only released in a few select, urban communit
ies. The novella was based on one character that had a lot of inner meditations and little dialogue. Both books are still read today, but the movies were forgotten. With all of the publicity focused on the book form of Tropic of Cancer, the American pe
ople generally ignored the movie in favor of the book. Today, Tropic of Cancer is still around in print and has been declared an American classic. Few people remember that there was actually a movie based upon that novel. Henry Miller has been compared to many other great authors by the critics and his friends. This was seen as an effort to establish his legitimacy and as a effort to help illustrate his style for those who have not yet read his works. It seems that his
style is a combination of many writers. He writes in a stream of consciousness style that has been compared to Fyodor Dostoevsky(Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, The Brothers Karamazou). His message in the novel of self-reliance is compared to Ralph Wal
do Emerson(Representative Man) and Walt Whitman(Leaves of Grass). Since he has been compared to so many other artists, Henry Miller wrote a book about the books that influences him(The Books in My Life). If one picks apart the different elements of styl
e in Tropic of Cancer, there are a great many books that could be used in comparing Miller's novel. Tropic of Cancer has also fallen into the category of works written by expatriates. Henry Miller wrote the manuscript after most of the American expatriate had left Europe. The period between World War I and World War II was a popular time for American
expatriates. Miller followed in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway and his novel, The Sun Also Rises. Both books contain issues of alienation, drinking, and sex. Most of the characters are not native to the land of the setting. All of the action in bot
h books is focused on anything, but what the book is actually trying to get across. If one focuses on the theme of alienation than a slew of coming-of-age novels can also be used to compare and contrast Tropic of Cancer. Cather in the Rye(J.D Salinger),
Rabbit, Run(John Updike), and Siddhartha(Hermann Hesse) all were published around the time that Tropic of Cancer was published in the United States. There was a huge demand for these books. Obviously these books were expressing a void many people felt
. These books displayed a questioning of morality and identity. There is an emphasis placed upon the individual. Tropic of Cancer and these other books remain popular and will remain popular as more generations call into question their own place in the
world. This can be shown as more coming-of-age novels continue to be published such as Rachel Paper's(Martin Amis) and Bad Vibes(Alberto Fuguet). There are two time periods that must be discussed that will help explain Tropic of Cancer's popularity. The book was written in 1932, but was not published in France until 1934. The book was later published in the United States in 1961. Henry Miller
began the book after the Great Depression and World War I. Michael Fraenkel described the times as "In England the pound was falling, and a Lord Ellsworth or other was calling on the City to carry on as if uncertainty were the rule, the natural, normal t
hing. In Spain Alfonso III had abdicated, and the Spanish Republic was founded, the same Republic that was later to be murdered in cold blood by Hitler and Mussolini while the democracies looked on and talked neutrality. In Chine flood and Famine raged
over the valleys of the Yangtse and Hwai, much as usual perhaps, but Jap thunder rumbled in Manchukuo, and Chapei tossed fitfully in a nightmare of terror and rape, while the League of Nations regaled itself with the latest statistics on the dope traffic.
Hoover just announced the Moratorium on German debts, the pocket battleship Deutshland was launched, and Hitler and his Storm Troopers were beginning to march through the streets with a curse upon their tongues. The Burning of the Books was not far off
. In America it was the day after the Great Crash and the October Suicides, and on the eve of the Bank Holidays. In Russia dekulakixation was in full swing, and hunger and famine stalked the plains and the cities. In Italy the trains were coming in on
time, and in France there was Doumerque and paralysis and dumb despair. Our little world that the statesmen and politicians had put together with a paste and pasteboard of words at Versailles was falling apart again. Everywhere there was uncertainty, co
nfusion, and fear. And utter incomprehension." There, basically, was utter chaos. And in this chaos, was a man who was trying to figure out himself and the situation around him. The readers were also trying to figure themselves out as well. Henry Mil
ler became a voice to these people and helped them not feel so very much alone. However, Henry Miller could not be a voice to his own people during this time period. Tropic of Cancer was deemed obscene by the Customs Bureau and could not be imported into the United States, along with other English-speaking nations. Miller tried to
get Tropic of Cancer published within America, but no publisher would accept his manuscript. American publishers found the material too racy and did not want to upset the status quo. Any one of them could have published the manuscript and see whether t
he law would rule it obscene. None of them wanted to take that risk. As Tropic of Cancer began to receive more press in France, American tourists began to smuggle the book into America. The temptation of forbidden fruit was too much and the penalty was
too small to pass up(one had to hand over the copy to Customs if caught). This continued on for many years until after World War II. The troops were often given leave in France before returning home. Tropic of Cancer became a hit with the troops and w
ere smuggled back aboard the government's ships. This caused a craze within the United States and Grove Press decided to publish the novel in 1961. Many problems arose after the printing of the banned book. The Post Office refused to deliver the book s
iting the law that obscene material can not be shipped. This ban was lifted within a few days. There also was a problem as to who to ship the books to. Some bookstores refused to carry the book and others would only place the novel behind the counter.
This also did not last very long due to the overwhelming demand for Tropic of Cancer. Around 60 court actions arose to determine whether the novel was obscene. Critics were called to testify on the merit of the book or label it pornography. Whether th
e critics liked the book or not, all of them testified that it was a literary work due to the censorship issue. Due to the conflicting results of these 60 court actions, the Supreme Court added the case to its docket so that there would be one law for th
e land. The Supreme Court had ignored the issue for three years and Grove Press had filed a petition of certiorari. Grove Press won and was officially allowed to sell the book nationwide. However, this ruling was ignored in many states. The judge who
ruled the book obscene in Florida would not change his decision until the Florida courts rule that it is not. This also happen in Pennsylvania and California. This Supreme Court decision was set in 1964 and the whole nation adopted this law by 1966. Th
e issue of censorship and the actual banning of the book led to an increased demand for the book. The idea of forbidden fruit was irresistible. If this issue had never arisen, one must wonder how much publicity Miller would have received if the publicat
ion of Tropic of Cancer had been no different from other books. As it stood, everyone had heard of the novel and knew the official did not want it released. Everyone wanted to read it to discover what was so dangerous and bad about it. Highbrows would
most likely have read it due to the support other authors held for the book. However, people that only read comic book were also interested in what Tropic of Cancer was about. Henry Miller became an author of the people due to his style and the amount o
f publicity he received. The book was also published in a turbulent era. The hippies and younger generation were revolting against the status quo. The Vietnam War was beginning to heat up. A large confrontation between the old and the young was brewing. The young was not qui
te so sure that it wanted to join the "system." Henry Miller spoke to them as an outsider. He wrote of questioning the world and trying to rely on himself to make sense of it. Free Love was placed throughout the novel. He was the authority figure they
could trust. Coming-of-age novel were growing in popularity and Tropic of Cancer could fit into that category. The book is still popular and will remain popular as each new generation goes through a period of alienation. It will also be forever known
as a book that was banned for almost thirty years. Some will read it due to the sex and profanity. The book is a depiction of real life, more so than any other book. There is a frankness in how Miller speaks to his audience and that is refreshing. Oth
ers will read it as the literary work that it is. Tropic of Cancer is truly a book for the people and will remain so.

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