Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller (1934)
Miller, Henry, Tropic of Cancer. Paris: Obelisk Press, 1934. Lilly Library: PS3525.I34 T7
Written in the first person, Tropic of Cancer is a fictionalized autobiographical treatment of Henry Miller’s struggle as an author in his early years in Paris. The novel, which contains many passages that graphically delineate the narrator’s sexual encounters in the French capital, was published by Jack Kahane’s Obelisk Press in Paris in 1934, prefaced and financed by Anaïs Nin with money borrowed from the psychoanalyst Otto Rank. As indicated on the front cover, illustrated by the publisher’s son Maurice Kahane, this edition could not be legally “imported into Great Britain or U.S.A.” Miller consistently objected to having expurgated versions of the novel issued in the United States. The publication of an uncensored U.S. edition by Grove Press in June 1961 sparked a string of litigation across the country, involving the American Civil Liberties Union, with several vendors of Tropic of Cancer arrested by police officials. In 1964, the Supreme Court eventually cleared the novel of obscenity charges and allowed its sale on the strength of the First Amendment (Grove Press v. Gerstein, 378 U.S. 577). The copy exhibited here bears an autograph dedication by Henry Miller to his fellow-American writer and political activist Max Eastman (1883-1969).