Henry Miller’s “Tropic of Cancer”

Henry Miller’s “Tropic of Cancer” contains everything Hemingway left out of “The Sun Also Rises,” which had left Ernest with the tincture of  a refined sentiment. That is one difference between the Jazz Age and the Great Depression. Turned out, we didn’t always have Paris; most of us never had it. From page 1 of Miller: “I have no money, no resources, no hopes. I am the happiest man alive.”

I don’t remember when I first read “Tropic of Cancer,” probably ’68 or ’69. From my notes written on the back of the last page and inside the back book cover:

art sing 1
Liby 36
whore – Germaine 40-43
Popini 58
artist 60
America 86
change 87-90
room dream 114-116
woman want 117 (45, 26)
pimp & whore 143-144
Matisse 146-149
Russia America 154
working with boss 158
mona 160-166 (smile)
Paris 162-188
book 163
moon 167
paragraph (style) 167, 202, 216
converse 171
army 200
Whitman 216
gold standard 219
writer 224
what’s in the hole 225
earth 225, 226
idols 228
task of artist 228
inhuman 230
art 229-280
human 231-259 (view on goodreads)

“Tropic of Cancer” was first published in France, 1934, Obelisk Press.
My edition is First Black Cat Edition 1961 Fifteenth Printing B-10, $1.25.
Introduction c 1959 by Karl Shapiro first appeared in “Two Cities” Paris, France.
Preface by Anais Nin, 1934.
No ISBN appears in the book, but the number “394-17760-6” appears on the bottom right of back cover.

Yes, trying to do something with Goodreads for the new year. I’ll be putting up short reviews like the one above from some of my old reads.


  1. Dan Hen says:

    Henry Miller lived in Pacific Palisades at the end , just off of Sunset .( in the interest of trivia)


    1. Joe Linker says:

      Yes, where he played ping pong in the nude with young women and wrote, “Nirvana Needed” on his bathroom window. Some weird shit going down in the Palisades?


    2. Joe Linker says:

      PS: I know it’s sometimes hard for readers to separate, but the post was not about Henry Miller; it was about “Tropic of Cancer.”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Henry Miller was a Mooch In Paris. Broke my foot. Anais Nin funded Miller’s travels with her husband’s hard-earned money.


    1. Joe Linker says:

      Of course Miller was a mooch. That’s what “Tropic of Cancer” is about. From page 168: “‘What’ll you do if you lose your job?’ That was the phrase that rang in my ears continually. Ca y est maintenant! Ausgespielt! Nothing to do but to get down into the street again, walk hang around, sit on benches, kill time. By now, of course, my face was familiar in Montparnasse; for a while I could pretend that I was still working on the paper. That would make it a little easier to bum a breakfast or a dinner. It was summertime and the tourists were pouring in. I had schemes up my sleeve for mulcting them. ‘What’ll you do . . . .?’ Well, I wouldn’t starve, that’s one thing.”
      Sorry to hear about your foot, but which Nin husband? She had two (at the same time), one in New York and one in Los Angeles. I don’t know if they worked hard to earn their money or not. But I know Henry sure did!


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