Tropic of Cancer

Tropic of Cancer: A semi-autobiographical novel (1934) in experimental form by the US writer Henry Miller (1891-1980). Unashamedly exhibitionistic, the book reflects Miller’s bohemian life and sexual activities during the 1920s and 1930s. Tropic of Capricorn (1939) is a companion volume, recalling his childhood and earlier life in the United States. Both books were banned in the United States until the 1960s. Of Tropic of Cancer, the poet and critic Ezra Pound (1885-1972) commented: ‘At last an unprintable book which is readable.’ The Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn are two parallel lines either side of the Equator between which the sun can be directly overhead at noon. Miller commented that

‘Cancer is separated from Capricorn only by an imaginary line… You live like a rock in the midst of the ocean; you are fixed while everything about you is in turbulent motion.’

A film version (1970) was directed by Joseph Strick.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

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