I wrote a really short post mentioning this book some time ago, but not what it deserved. So with all of the hub bub surrounding certain erotic books these days, it left me wondering why the book that paved the way for works like Fifty Shades of Grey hasn’t gained the mainstream popularity it has deserved for so long.
You know, the novel that was published in 1934 and banned in the United States until 1961. Even then, publisher Grove Press endured obscenity trials that redefined American Pornography laws. Finally in 1964 the US Supreme Court declared Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller non-obscene.
Miller was, and is, in my opinion, the greatest American writer. His books appeal to both men and women for it’s purity in erotica. It’s not fluff. It’s filthy and stunning at the same time. Tropic of Cancer smashed the idea of gender specific literary works, and through this work, introduced us to the most independent, open, and sexually forward female writer before that time (and maybe ever) Anais Nin, with whom he had an affair while in Paris. Nin is also responsible for funding the initial publication in 1934. Their love affair is captured wonderfully in a film based on the book by Anais, called Henry and June released in 1990. It’s one of my very favorite movies.
When I first read Tropic of Cancer in 1990, it was like nothing I had ever read. It opened my eyes to how wonderful life is on so many levels. I felt as though I was living his story. I was a struggling writer writing as much as I could when not working my shit job in order to pay for a studio apartment in New York’s capital. But Tropic changed me. It encouraged me to live life to it’s fullest. What could I truly offer in my words if I wasn’t out there experiencing all of the wonders around me?
I’ve re-read Tropic at least 4 times over the years. And it’s amazing each time. This is a must read for all men and women. It will lead you forward to more of Henry Miller’s works, as well Anais Nin’s erotica.