Tropic of Capricorn

ISBN: 0802151825
ISBN 13: 9780802151827
By: Henry Miller

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About this book

Banned in America for almost thirty years because of its explicit sexual content, this companion volume to Miller’s Tropic of Cancer chronicles his life in 1920s New York City. Famous for its frank portrayal of life in Brooklyn’s ethnic neighborhoods and Miller’s outrageous sexual exploits, The Tropic of Capricorn is now considered a cornerstone of modern literature.

Reader's Thoughts

Olivier Goetgeluck

“My understanding of the meaning of a book is that the book itself disappears from sight, that it is chewed alive, digested and incorporated into the system as flesh and blood which in turn creates new spirit and reshapes the world.”

Will Ridenour

This is his (Miller's) second novel but instead of continuing his accounts of Europe and making any kind of saga extending from Tropic of Cancer, he puts it in reverse and gives a retrospective of life in New York city, both his formative years in Brooklyn and the years he worked a grueling job at a Telegraph company as a hiring clerk in Manhattan. Like Cancer it's full of sex and food(both two of his favorite subjects) but the overall dialogue with his characters is more compelling and seems (somewhat) less embellished than before. He loses whatever pithy, journalistic fashion of writing that may have been dominant in Cancer, delving much deeper into singular characters whether ex co-workers or lovers. It's still very muscular and fast paced like his debut but it's also very lyrical and tends not to rely as much on shocking rants and cynical diatribes. in truth though there is still much to be had in that way but one of the great things about reading early or late Miller is that no matter how vitriolic or pejorative he gets, he always manages to come back to the surface and sometimes fly above with grand epiphanies and elation as if he had just been purged of all the ugliness that he was just on way of going on about it. Very inspiring.The best parts of the book to me are the little surreal flights he subsequently takes on the page apropos some memory of walking around Brooklyn or times square. These show what a bizarre and vivid poetic imagination he has not to mention a good deal of insight into what went on his mind all those years ago. As a real critic said 'there's nothing like him when he gets on a roll'. Really incomparable. When he starts contemplating God, existence on earth, himself etc etc, he can really be quite brilliant and mesmerizing. This is why I'm more prone to cite him as my favorite philosopher rather than my favorite non fiction writer.Anyways, I'm not much for critiques...but this shit is worth every penny you pay for and more.


Mr. Miller, I'm afraid I'm going to have to call shenanigans on this one. The blurb on the back of your book describes it as a "cornerstone of modern literature." I respectfully disagree, Mr. Miller, for I think your book is complete bullshit.Now, you almost had me at the beginning. You know, that part where you were talking about that job you had where you hired and fired people all day long. I could get that. I found it amusing. And later, where you banged your buddy's sister in the vestibule right underneath him as he slept? Classic, wonderfully written. And that last bit, where you talk a bit about your retarded sister? Sentimental and lovely. Then there was the coda, which, though a bit repetitive, was still decent. All of that was great.It's the in-between parts that I couldn't swallow, Mr. Miller. I've heard that stream-of-consciousness can be done well and I've read a few things where I've almost been convinced of it myself, but this spread you've set out before me? It's rotting, Mr. Miller. There are maggots living inside. You might have been able to shock the world with your overuse of the word "cunt" back in the day, but you haven't shocked me, Mr. Miller. You haven't even impressed interested me. I will try you again, Sir. Next time, though, clean up your act. Come up with a plot, outline it if you have to. I won't stand for this sort of thing again. Two strikes, you old bastard. Two strikes is all you get.


"أشدّ ما أزعجني هو أنّني في أوّل مرّة أحمرّ فيها وجهي، ظنّ الناس كالمعتاد أنّي ولد طيّب، ولطيف و كريم، ومخلص ووفيّ. وربّما كنتُ أتحلّى بتلك الخصال الحميدة.. فإذا كان هذا ما حدث فعلاً فلأنّني كنتُ لا مبالياً .. كان في استطاعتي أن أكون طيّباً ولطيفاً وكريماً ومخلصاً وما إلى ذلك، لأنّني كنت متحرّرا من الحسد؛ كان الحسد هو الشيء الوحيد الذي لم أقع ضحيّة له. لم أحسد أيّ إنسان أو أيّ شيء بل على العكس، لم أضمر إلّا الشفقة على كلّ إنسان وكلّ شيء. لا بدّ أنني، وطّنت نفسي منذ البداية على ألّا أحتاج إلى أيّ شيء حاجة ماسّة. منذ البداية كنت مستقلّاً، بطريقة زائفة. لم أحتج إلى أحد لأنّني أردت أن أكون حرّاً، حرّاً في أن أعمل وأعطي فقط بتوجيه من نزواتي. ولحظة يتوقّع أو يطلب منّي أيّ شيء.. أنكمش! هذا هو الشكل الذي اتّخذه استقلالي، و بعبارة أخرى، كنت مُخرّباً.. مُخرّباً منذ البداية، وكأنّ أمّي غذّتني على السمّ. وعلى الرغم من كوني فطمت باكراً إلّا أنّ السمّ لم يفارق جسمي. وحتّى عندما فطمتني بد أنّني كنت لا مبالياً تماماً بذلك. فمعظم الأطفال يتمرّدون أو على الأقلّ، يتظاهرون بذلك، أمّا أنا، فلم أبدِ أيّ اهتمام بالأمر. وفي المبدأ، كنتُ ضدّ الحياة، أيّ مبدأ؟ مبدأ العقم. كلّ من حولي كانوا يكافحون، أمّا أنا، فلم أبذل أقلّ جهد! فإذا بدا أنّني أبذل مجهوداً، فذلك فقط لكي أدخل السرور إلى قلب شخص آخر؛ أمّا في أعماقي، فلم أكن آبه البتّة..وإذا أعطيتني سبباً لذلك فسوف أنكره، لأنّني ولدت مع أثر ملعون لا شيء يمكن أن يزيله!."وفي مقطع تالٍ:حين مددت يدي، لأنال الحياة، أو شيء منها أرتبط به.. لم أجد شيئاً.. ولكن، حين مددت يدي، وأثناء محاولتي القبض على شيء والارتباط به، وجدتني خالي الوفاض كما كنت، لكنّني مع ذلك عثرت على شيء لم أفتّش عنه أبداً- نفسي. وجدت أن ما رغبت فيه طوال حياتي ليس العيش، إن افترضنا أنّ ما يفعله الآخرون يسمّى عيشاً، بل، أن أعبّر عن نفسي. أدركتُ، أنّه ليس لديّ أدنى اهتمام بالعيش، بل فقط بما أقوم به الآن، بشيء يعادل الحياة ومنها، ويتجاوزها في آن واحد.إنّ الحقيقة، نادراً ما تثير اهتمامي، ولا حتّى الواقعيّ؛ فقط ما أتخيّل وجوده يهمّني. ذاك الذي أكبته لكي استمرّ في الحياة، ولا يهمّني سواء أمتّ اليوم أم غداً، ولم يهمّني ذلك أبداً. لكن ما يزعجني، وما يعتمل في صدري، هو أنّني حتّى اليوم وبعد سنوات من الجهد المبذول، أعجز عن التعبير عمّا أفكّر فيه وما أشعر به. ومنذ عهد الطفولة وأنا أسير على خطى ذلك الشبح، لا أستمتع بأيّ شيء و لا أرغب في أيّ شيء غير تلك القوّة -المقدرة – وكلّ ما عداها كذب- كلّ ما فعلته وقلته و لا يذهب في ذلك الاتّجاه، وهذا يشكّل، الجزء الأكبر من حياتي!

Eva Luna

Everything was for tomorrow, but tomorrow never came. The present was only a bridge and on this bridge they are still groaning, as the world groans, and not one idiot ever thinks of blowing up the bridge.Actually haven't picked this up again. I was enticed by the idea of reading about his life in America, pre-European days, after reading about him in Anais Nin's first diaries. However, the first chapter was one big whine-fest, full of pity and non-belief in the goodness of the human spirit. He writes like he'd rather be dead. Not my cup of tea.

Jeffrey Keeten

I am so thoroughly healthy and empty. No dreams, no desires. I am like the luscious deceptive fruit which hangs on the Californian trees. One more ray of sun and I will be rotten. Henry MillerThe first thing, if you are lucky, that you discover about Henry Miller is that you shouldn't introduce him to your wife, your sister, your mother or any other female that you care to leave unsullied. He is like a bloodhound once he catches the scent of a female that he has not had carnal knowledge with. It wasn't that Henry made the best of first impressions, but give him time, give him an evening with a nun, and she'll be at the altar the next morning, still trembling from a night of degradation, renouncing or reaffirming her vows. Henry fought with his wife, the first wife, the one with the shovel face, like two piranhas caught in a barrel. If you have read any of Henry's books you know that he shares his life, everything, even the stuff that makes him look like a lout."When I got home my wife was awake and sore as hell because I had stayed out so long. We had a hot discussion and finally I lost my temper and I clouted her and she fell on the floor and began to weep and sob. The girl upstairs came running down to see what was the matter. She was in her kimono and her hair was hanging down her back. In the excitement she got close to me and things happened without either of us intending anything to happen. (I didn't believe that part for a second.) We put the wife to bed with a wet towel around her forehead and the while the girl upstairs was bending over her I stood behind her and lifting her kimono. I got it into her and she stood there a long time talking a lot of foolish soothing nonsense. Finally I climbed into bed with the wife and to my utter amazement she began to cuddle up to me and without saying a word we locked horns and we stayed that way until dawn. I should have been worn out but instead I was wide awake, and I lay there beside her planning to take the day off and look up the whore with the beautiful fur whom I was talking to earlier in the day. After that I began to think about another woman, the wife of one of my friends. Henry is a man that is never satiated. One conquest launches him on a quest for the next one. With a clap on my shoulder and a squeeze Henry always has a new story that has me shaking my head. By comparison, I feel like my life is as boring as a Methodist sermon. Henry is living for all of us. Like every other fool I know...I've lent Henry money. Lent, that is rich, I'm still deluding myself. He doesn't repay a loan. He makes you forget you lent it to him in the first place. I remember one night when a mutual friend of ours explained the circumstances with Henry. "If you need a little money I'll raise it for you. It's like throwing it down a sewer, I know, but I'll do it for you just the same. The truth is, Henry, I like you a hell of a lot. I've taken more from you than I would from anybody in the world." Henry just grinned as our friend's hat passed around, and even people that had known him less than an hour tossed in a bit of green. It wasn't until we were leaving, weaving our own snake trail out the door, that my friend discovered that along with the money, Henry had also absconded with his hat.I was with Henry the night he met the nymphomaniac Paula. "She has the loose jaunty swing and perch of the doubled-barreled sex, all her movements radiating from the groin, always in equilibrium, always ready to flow, to wind and twist, and clutch, the eyes going tic-toc, the toes twitching and twinkling, the flesh rippling like a lake furrowed by a breeze. This is the incarnation of the hallucination of sex, the sea nymph squirming in the maniac's arms.", Needless to say I left by myself, but not before Henry touched me for a Jackson. I have never figured out if Henry is a coward or the bravest of the brave. He rejects the life that I spend so much of each day trying to build for myself. He didn't tell me this, but I found it in one of his books. "I realize quietly what a terribly civilized person I am-the need I have for people, conversation, books, theatre, music, cafes, drinks, and so forth. It's terrible to be civilized, because when you come to the end of the world you have nothing to support the terror of loneliness. To be civilized is to have complicated needs, And a man, when he is full blown, shouldn't need a thing." The thing of it is Henry couldn't be Henry except for the existence of people like myself who are always willing to buy him a drink and marvel at his stories. He is living off the efforts of "civilized" men and women. He doesn't have to own anything, because someone will always give him what he needs. "He had neither pride, nor vanity, nor envy. About the big issues he was clear, but confronted by the petty details of life he was bewildered." The Nasty GeniusThe thing of it is, despite his best efforts, Henry Miller became a useful member of society. He published books describing a life so unencumbered that even those of us perfectly satisfied with our soft lives, eking out a possession laden life of soulless corporate kowtowing, have doubts that we have chosen our lives wisely. Henry met this woman named June who hauled him off to Paris. JuneI don't get to hear his stories first hand anymore. I have to buy his books to find out what he has been up to. I miss Henry. He had me gaze upon the greener pastures on the other side of the fence, but he couldn't convince me to jump over and stay over. Every so often, despite his better financial circumstances, I still get a note from him with a plea for a few dollars for old time's sake. I, the dutiful enabling friend, always send him what I can spare.

Jaime Acuña

La obra maestra de Henry Miller. Yo tengo la edición de la editorial Cátedra, traducida por Carlos Manzano. Verborrea excesiva de principio a fin; torrente de vida hecha verbo; falsa autobiografía que desborda los límites del amor propio, por exceso y por defecto al mismo tiempo; compendio de "four letters words"; sexo, mucho sexo, descrito de la forma más audaz y contagiosa. ¿Qué ocurriría si un típico norteamericano medio se pusiese a escribir una novela francesa? Trópico de Capricornio es la respuesta.Henry Miller se saca de las mientes un alter-ego que se llama igual que él, pero que es totalmente distinto. Hay que leerla como Miller la escribió, soltando metralla. Si con Trópico de Cáncer Miller lanzó "un escupitajo en la cara del arte", con este segundo Trópico (que es parte de una trilogía que incluye ambos Trópicos y Primavera negra, que no he leído) quiso sumirnos en su propio caos ("desde el principio no fue sino caos"). La leí hace muchos años y me impresionó su fuerza. Y su lirismo. Y que, bajo toda esa rabia torrencial, toda esa jodienda descarada, toda esa charlatanería de vendedor a domicilio, se encontraba una sincera novela de amor.


I believe I'll find myself reading this again and again. I haven't read anything like this before (and in quite awhile) and I'm glad I did. One of my favorite quotes: "For there is only one great adventure and that is inward toward the self, and for that, time nor space nor even deeds matter."

أحمد شاكر

ومع أني لم أنتهي من الكتاب، إلا أني أجدني مدفوعا برغبة غامضة للكتابة. مع العلم أني لم أقرر بعد هل سأكمله أم لا..بالأمس، كنت في حالة من عدم الاتزان؛ حالة ذهنية ونفسية شديدة السوء، لم تداهمني من قبل، ربما الاكتئاب هو السبب. المهم وأنا في تلك الحالة، وبينما أجوب شوارع وسط البلد مع صديقة لي، ضاع الكتاب. نعم ضا ع مدار الجدي في مكان ما. سأحكي لكم: صليت الظهر في زاوية صغيرة، ثم قابلت صديقتي. سألتني: كتاب جديد؟ قلت: لا. قديم، لكني أقرأ فيه. هنري يلهمني وأنا أكتب. كلمتها عن أهمية الكتاب، ثم ذهبنا وتناولنا الغداء، ثم إلي المقهي، ثم إلي مكتبة شهيرة؛ نتنزه وسط الكتب، ثم وقعت عيني علي نسخة معروضة من الكتاب، فجأة تذكرت. أوه.. أين الكتاب؟ كان معك (أجابتني) وخرجنا نبحث عن الكتاب. وأنا في حالة من الضياع والتشتت. وكأن ابني تاه مني. كنت قد تجاوزت 65 صفحة فقط من الكتاب. كنت أقرأ بتأن واستمتاع بالغين. هنري يسب أم أمريكا ويلعن من خلفوها. هذه هي فاتحة الكتاب. ويبدو أن هذه هي تيمة الكتاب كله. هنري حزين جدا في مدار الجدي علي حال الانسان المنسحق من فوق، ومن الآلة، ومن الشغل، ومن المخدرات، والجنس..هنري يبكي حاله، وحال أميركا، وحال العالم..هذا أول كتاب يضيع مني يا هنري، ماذا أفعل؟ سأذهب لدلتا فينوس كتاب صديقتك نن..

Ioannis Savvas

Ένα καταιγιστικό βιβλίο, αλλόκοτο, χωρίς πλοκή, χωρίς ειρμό. Χειμαρρώδες, όμορφο, κολασμένο, ονειρικό, χλευαστικό, ανήθικο, διδακτικό. Ο Μίλερ είναι ένας άξιος εκπρόσωπος του υπερρεαλισμού. Αν και έχει γνωρίσει τον ντανταϊσμό, δεν τον ενστερνίζεται. Ακροβατεί ανάμεσα στο παραλήρημα και τη φτηνή αυτοβιογραφία. Φτύνει το κατεστημένο, την πραγματικότητα. Ταυτόχρονα ζει την πραγματικότητα, το τώρα, ως το μεδούλι. Υμνεί τη γυναίκα και τις ωοθήκες της, την ίδια στιγμή που τη φοβάται και τη λατρεύει σαν θεά.Ο Τροπικός του Αιγόκερω είναι ένα βιβλίο-μνημείο των ακραίων ατραπών που μπορεί να βαδίσει ο ανθρώπινος εγκέφαλος, χωρίς να χάσει το δρόμο του.

Wael Mahmoud

Although this novel less famous than tropic of Cancer - for example 8,174 ratings, 309 reviews against 26,082 ratings, 1,465 reviews in goodreads - But it's the better one.When i read Tropic of Cancer i were prepared to all the beauty in it, I read it many years ago translated into Arabic, read many articles about it, But with Tropic of Capricorn - as i thought that Miller is a one work artist - it was like an aesthetic shock. Again the beautiful language, again the charming prose, I'm ready now to read Miller's writing about anything even an advertising catalog.As in Tropic of cancer Miller talking about a lot of nonsense matters, But it is always how you talk about something not the thing itself that makes the great literature and art.Some of the most amazing parts which delighted me are:- The employees of the telegraph company that he wrote his worst work about them.- The beautiful description of a day in his life.- kronski's expecting him to be a great writer, And here i must express my admiration of Miller's believe in himself.- All events related to Curley.- His description of the real friendship when talking about Roy Hamilton.- How Dostoyevsky and Bergson's book "Creative Evolution" effect his life.- How his friend lend him money with love and lecture.So why i didn't give it the 5 stars, because sometime Miller seems to lost the concept which he discuss and only remain the beautiful language which isn't a small element but not every thing.

Kanika Sood

Tropic of Cancer is a thick thick that most of the times I couldn't see where I was going. Are you rewarded for reading through Henry's Hailstorm of fancy words and metaphors? Not really. The way I see it, Miller wrote a page or two of the story and then felt obliged to append it with three or four pages of philosophical ramblings (uh,cribbing). All female characters are receptacles for his semen, all African-Americans are despicable, all wives are domestic potatoes, subject to thoughtless cheating and abortions. Like an earthquake, the author starts from a central idea and goes so far from it and in so many directions that the reader is obliviated from the epicenter. And he repeats pages on pages of stuff so manyyyy times. I had to reread a lot of sections, Google a lot of words. This is not a good book. It is like vomit, voluminous and disorganized.


Henry Miller's reputation must have clearly superseded his talents, for there's nothing in this meandering, overwrought, and vapid 348-page book that deserves to be called "great" (at least not by me.) The protagonist ("Henry Miller") is an obnoxious, whining, egoistic, misogynistic juvenile who suddenly realizes that his entire life has been a perfidious, meaningless lie, and that he lives in a philistine and wasting culture and society. Though the tone is sometimes bitingly good and funny, and Miller's flowing ruminations sometimes interesting, the book overall is exhausting and annoying and even redundant, as if I've read this before, and written by someone better and more interesting than Henry Miller (ie: DH Lawrence; Mann) There's only one thing I like from this book - and why I'm giving it 3 stars: "Christ will never more come down to earth nor will there be any lawgiver, nor will murder cease, nor theft, nor rape, and yet...and yet one expects something, something terrifyingly marvelous and absurd, perhaps a cold lobster with mayonnaise served with gratis, perhaps an invention, like the electric light, light television, only more devastating, more soul-rending, an invention unthinkable that will bring a shattering calm and void, not like the calm and void of death but of life such as the monks dreamed, as is dreamed still in the Himalayas, in Tibet, in Lahore, in the Aleutian Islands, in Polynesia, in Easter Island, the dream of men before the flood, before the word was written, the dream of cavemen and anthropophagists, of those with double sex and short tails, of those who are said to be crazy and have no way of defending themselves because they are outnumbered by those who are not crazy" (99) Indeed, one does "expect something terrifyingly marvelous and absurd."

Jason Mashak

I'm enough of a Miller fan that the one time I've been to Paris I talked my wife into staying in Clichy. And his books Tropic of Cancer and The Air-Conditioned Nightmare were influential enough to inspire my move abroad (half a dozen years later). So I can say with some semblance of authority that Tropic of Capricorn seemed less flowing, more disjointed in its narrative. However, it overflows with quote-worthy lines and delivers explosive epiphanies in typical Milleresque fashion. Overall, it's a great glimpse into Miller's formative years.

Cecilia W Yu

I read the first few was boring....then I skipped chapters hoping he would get more interesting..he didn't....kept was still boring...towards the end...he is pathetically sentimental, self-indulgent and boring...I think it is because he was mooching off his wife while trying to shag someone else's wives in order to mooch off them too...and too much mooching off the labours of women while being an annoying left bank Parisian bum, made him go "cunt, cunt, cunt" a lot...but it did not make him an interesting writer with a plot or indeed a man whose rant an intelligent thinking, post-modern woman could stand...given his misogyny and his endless rants....without a plot.Like Bukowski, rather Bukowski copied him...he tried to give the impression of being good in bed and all that....but uses too many words and in short, I consider this genre of writing ...EARLY Dick-lit.!However if you randomly pick out a phrase or two ...he had very interesting way of using the english language fusing it with Americanism. But not enough synergy to make this pulp of a Dick lit. interesting....Oh henry...a freaking socialist croissant commie cliche? least you were not a puritan protestant prude...I suppose we should we grateful for that...but lets call a spade a spade....he giggolo-ed his socialism came into good use!Those were the days, when simple not-so-well-travelled women got impressed by some guy who got his book banned (in Turkey? big whoppie!) just by using the word "cunt" modern times mediocre writers have to at least get a Fatwah...something that the wimpy croissant munching Henry probably wouldn't be able to would require commitement and conviction that he prided himself on not possessing an ounce of! Zzzz. lol.:)

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