Tropic of Cancer
is blood and flesh which is here given us. Drink, food, laughter,
desire, passion, curiosity, the simple realities which nourish the roots
of our highest and vaguest creations. The superstructure is lopped away.
This book brings with it a wind that blows down the dead and hollow
trees whose roots are withered and lost in the barren soul of our times.
This book goes to the roots and digs under, digs for subterranean
EDITION IN ORIGINAL WRAPPERS, one of only 1000 copies printed, of
Miller’s masterpiece. In exceptionally fine condition.
of Cancer (1934), was, as [Miller] famously described it, ‘a gob of
spit in the face of Art, a kick in the pants to God, Man, Destiny, Time,
Love, Beauty.’ He denied that the book was a novel at all, and he allied
himself with the tradition of Walt Whitman in American letters by
claiming that the book was wholly an expression of himself: the story
was his story and his ‘hero’ was himself. He called it an
‘auto-romance.’ Into the book went all of his experiences on the margin
in Paris. Bawdy, offensive, rebellious, and reveling in the life of the
lowest depths, Tropic of Cancer was also full of good humor,
wonder, and spiritual passion. Miller had tried so long to succeed that
he now seemed almost determined to offend; ironically, this effort won
him the acceptance that had so long eluded him. His book was immediately
praised extravagantly by the most influential modernist critics of his
time. T. S. Eliot wrote that "Tropic of Cancer seems to me a . .
. magnificent piece of work." Ezra Pound added that it was one of only a
few modern books that could be set beside James Joyce's Ulysses,
and he pointed to its ‘ethical discrimination.’ Inevitably the book
attracted not only well-established critics but also young writers who
declared themselves disciples of Miller's. Lawrence Durrell, then in his
early twenties, wrote a fan letter to Miller stating that Tropic of
Cancer was ‘the only man-size piece of work which this century can
really boast of.’ Even George Bernard Shaw, though troubled by the
excess of sexuality in the book, acknowledged, ‘This fellow can write.’
Tropic of Cancer continued to attract favorable comment for a long
time. Edmund Wilson praised Miller's ‘sure hand at color and rhythm’ in
1938, and in 1940 George Orwell extolled his book as a revelation of
‘the disintegration of our society and the increasing helplessness of
all decent people.’ Later, in the 1970s, Norman Mailer championed his
Tropic of Cancer was receiving its first favorable commentary in
the mid-1930s, the sexually explicit and offensive character of the book
resulted in its being banned from sale in the United States and Great
Britain and, indeed, from regular commercial distribution anywhere. Thus
Miller became the most famous banned author in American history” (American
Obelisk Press, 1934. Octavo, original pictorial wrappers featuring a
giant crab holding a naked woman in its pincers, designed by Maurice J.
Kahan; custom half-leather box. Small split at base of spine, a few
spots of soiling to rear wrappers. A magnificent copy. $26,000.
Miller's Tropic of Capricorn,