Tropic of Cancer

Tropic of Cancer

Book - 1961
Average Rating:
Rate this:
A stream-of-consciousness story of a poverty-stricken young American, living in Paris.
Miller's groundbreaking first novel, banned in Britain for almost thirty years. A penniless and as yet unpublished writer, Henry Miller arrived in Paris in 1930. Leaving behind a disintegrating marriage and an unhappy career in America, he threw himself into the low-life of bohemian Paris with unwavering gusto. A fictional account of Miller's adventures amongst the prostitutes and pimps, the penniless painters and writers of Montparnasse, Tropic of Cancer is an extravagant and rhapsodic hymn to a world of unrivalled eroticism and freedom. Tropic of Cancer's 1934 publication in France was hailed by Samuel Beckett as 'a momentous event in the history of modern writing'. The novel was subsequently banned in the UK and the USA and not released for publication for a further thirty years.
Publisher: New York : Grove Press, Inc., [1961]
Copyright Date: ©1961
ISBN: 9780802131782
Branch Call Number: FICTION MILLER 1961
Characteristics: xxxiii, 318 pages ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

"Now hailed as an American classic, Tropic of Cancer , Henry Miller's masterpiece, was banned as obscene in this country for 27 years after its publication in Paris in 1934. Only a historic court ruling that changed American censorship standards permitted the publication of this firs... Read More »

The first truly subversive book I ever read, given to me by a high school

English teacher.

Miller’s stream of consciousness tale, initially banned in the US for being obscene, is the classic forerunner of the explicit, no-holds-barred tales of discovery and awakening.

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Nov 17, 2018

As with all my literary choices, I was drawn to read this by a Seinfeld episode. Beautifully written, the Seinfeld episode ends with this hackneyed, talentless tome of an American d-bag in Paris clutched onto by the filthy bum and ex-gym teacher, Mr. Heyman. Laying outside the library covered in dirty blankets, little baked bean teeth on full display, he utters, "Can't stand yah, can't stand yah" while clinging to his filthy copy. Metaphor indeed. Obviously, they (Seinfeld writers) liked it more than I did.

Nov 01, 2017

Couldn't finish this book. Just couldn't follow it and it didn't capture my interest

Je55Ro5e Jan 15, 2015

I really enjoyed parts of this book immensely, but as a whole it didn't keep me enraptured the whole time I was reading it. Which is the only reason it didn't make it to the 4-5 star rating. I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys stream of conscious writings, or risque writings.

Oct 30, 2013

A classic "dirty book." He's not afraid to drop the c-word.

Nov 11, 2012

I didn't know what to expect as all I really knew about the novel was the infamous reputation. I like everything with angst and this book contains a great deal of angst. A great look at what constitutes living. I had a great deal of empathy for the author and his views of living life. Probably not for everyone.

Apr 24, 2012

I won't rate this as I didn't read all of it. I can see why people say Henry Miller is brilliant. His writing is visceral and distinct. At a later date I may try to tackle it again but at this time I just didn't want to decipher it. I often read for escapism and this book isn't something which lends itself to that.

diesellibrarian Jan 31, 2012

Miller oscillates between what feels like self-conscious rebellion (against "literature," I suppose) and an alcohol-fueled but visceral documentary of his life in Paris. The prose crackles like a high-tension wire, but the thread of the narrative takes abrupt turns that can be difficult to follow. The book is populated by a cast of losers and struggling/delusional artists that form the backdrop of Miller's somewhat objective perspective on the rotting-yet-fecund Paris of the early 20th century.

Sep 04, 2011

Henry Miller employs a stream-of-consciousness style of writing in this experimental work. Tropic of Cancer more closely resembles a diary than it does a novel. Because Miller doesn't follow the standard conflict-rising action-resolution formula, this book can be difficult to digest. Miller breaches countless taboos in Tropic of Cancer, so much so that by the time of the book's abrupt close, the reader inevitably becomes desensitized to the once shocking debauchery of Miller and his friends. The well-documented book ban had the unintended consequence of allowing Tropic of Cancer to occupy an almost mythical realm of literature, but this book is certainly not "one of the ten or twenty great novels" of the twentieth century. Miller's writing is crude and unrefined, and Tropic of Cancer is weighed down by lengthy, unintelligible, hallucinatory discourses on the history of man. Stranger still, Miller intermittently pens long-winded, self-indulgent passages in which he unconvincingly peddles the earth-shattering import of his allegedly revolutionary book. I can understand why people succumb to the hype surrounding this book. For me, Tropic of Cancer was a disappointment.

Dec 29, 2010

Great Book.

The type of book that makes you want to go out and live, not stay in and read more. ( I love reading but the best writers spur you towards life; in my opinion)

Just a tremendous 'in the moment' book.

Miller is probably my favorite writer ever. He can make you feel more in one sentence than most authors can in a whole book.

There are paragraphs you will begin reading and by the time they are through you will have become so swept up in them you wont even remember how they started. That may seem crazy but Miller takes you on a ride.

Probably the greatest thing I have ever read.

Its a shame people think of this book and think about the controversy around it when it came out. It is way more than erotica, it is soul and life.

Sep 09, 2008

Book club.


Add a Summary
Sep 27, 2013

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 widely regarded as an important masterpiece of 20th-century literature.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at MCL

To Top