Quotes from book
Tropic of Cancer

Tropic of Cancer

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 regarded as an important work of 20th-century literature.


Henry Miller photo

„Do anything, but let it produce joy. Do anything, but let it yield ecstasy.“

—  Henry Miller, book Tropic of Cancer

Source: Tropic of Cancer

Henry Miller photo

„I have found God, but he is insufficient.“

—  Henry Miller, book Tropic of Cancer

Source: Tropic of Cancer

Henry Miller photo

„I have no money, no resources, no hopes. I am the happiest man alive.“

—  Henry Miller, book Tropic of Cancer

Source: Tropic of Cancer (1934), Chapter One

Henry Miller photo
Henry Miller photo
Henry Miller photo

„I'm a bit retarded, like most Americans.“

—  Henry Miller, book Tropic of Cancer

Source: Tropic of Cancer

Henry Miller photo
Henry Miller photo
Henry Miller photo

„Words are loneliness.“

—  Henry Miller, book Tropic of Cancer

Source: Tropic of Cancer

Henry Miller photo
Henry Miller photo

„I made up my mind that I would hold onto nothing, that I would expect nothing.“

—  Henry Miller, book Tropic of Cancer

Source: Tropic of Cancer

Henry Miller photo
Henry Miller photo

„Everywhere I go people are making a mess of their lives. Everyone has his private tragedy. It's in the blood now - misfortune, ennui, grief, suicide. The atmosphere is saturated with disaster, frustration, futility. Scratch and scratch, until there's no skin left. However, the effect upon me is exhilarating. Instead of being discouraged or depressed, I enjoy it. I am crying for more and more disasters, for bigger calamities, grander failures. I want the whole world to be out of whack, I want every one to scratch himself to death.“

—  Henry Miller, book Tropic of Cancer

Source: Tropic of Cancer (1934), Chapter One
Context: Well, I'll take these pages and move on. Things are happening elsewhere. Things are always happening. It seems wherever I go there is drama. People are like lice - they get under your skin and bury themselves there. You scratch and scratch until the blood comes, but you can't get permanently deloused. Everywhere I go people are making a mess of their lives. Everyone has his private tragedy. It's in the blood now - misfortune, ennui, grief, suicide. The atmosphere is saturated with disaster, frustration, futility. Scratch and scratch, until there's no skin left. However, the effect upon me is exhilarating. Instead of being discouraged or depressed, I enjoy it. I am crying for more and more disasters, for bigger calamities, grander failures. I want the whole world to be out of whack, I want every one to scratch himself to death.

Henry Miller photo

„There's something perverse about women… they're all masochists at heart.“

—  Henry Miller, book Tropic of Cancer

Source: Tropic of Cancer

Henry Miller photo

„The cancer of time is eating us away“

—  Henry Miller, book Tropic of Cancer

Source: Tropic of Cancer

Henry Miller photo

„I need to be alone. I need to ponder my shame and my despair in seclusion; I need the sunshine and the paving stones of the streets without companions, without conversation, face to face with myself, with only the music of my heart for company.“

—  Henry Miller, book Tropic of Cancer

Source: Tropic of Cancer (1934), Chapter Four, Pappin
Context: I am a free man-and I need my freedom. I need to be alone. I need to ponder my shame and my despair in seclusion. I need sunshine and paving tones of the streets without companions, without conversation, face to face with myself with only the music of my heart for company. What do you want of me? When I have something to say, I put it in print. When I have something to give, I give it. Your prying curiosity turns my stomach! Your compliments humiliate me. Your tea poisons me! I owe nothing to anyone, I would've responsible to God alone-if he exited!

Henry Miller photo

„The essential thing is to WANT to sing. This then is a song. I am singing.“

—  Henry Miller, book Tropic of Cancer

Source: Tropic of Cancer

Henry Miller photo
Henry Miller photo
Henry Miller photo

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