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


Reading this again 10 years after the first read - I couldn't ask for anything more. I could never identify with Cancer, mainly because of the Paris setting but also the idea that he had already jumped the precipice at that point. Here is before he left New York, in the depth of his confusion and trying to find a way to transcend it but always just digging himself further in - cut this with his childhood references and you have a document of not only what brooklyn and the city once was, but surprisingly how static life in the city truly is. People complain of details changing but the reality is the definition of New York is change and yet at the same time the lives and attitude of the people never change.There is so much more, but it doesn't really matter in a review becuase it is much too personal. I will say though as unamerican as Miller proclaims to be, ironically he is probably the epitome of the stream of consciousness roughneck american style that whitman started and was embraced by the next generation of the 50s/60s and now dominates all american literature - ie that auto-biograph crap that Opera pushes and the masses gobble up.


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.

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.


...and Cancer is separated from Capricorn only by an imaginary line.Henry Miller’s second book is a strange and sometimes bewildering but often exhilarating exploration of his early years, before heading to Paris. He pays homage to Dadaism and Surrealism, but not as influences so much as discoveries after-the-fact; discoveries of like-minds who he never knew existed until he was already like-minded.The narrative is dense, compacted, sometimes a single paragraph will extend over several pages, and stylistically shifts gear, sometimes mid-sentence, between a kind of almost traditional yarn-spinning story-telling mode and rambling inner monologues on the idea of the self and society and almost anything, where metaphors and similes crash one upon the other in waves and spurts ... ejaculation after ejaculation; and there is an orgasmic variety of exultation to these moments which does become overwhelming. I mean, an orgasm that goes on too long can become painful... I admit to preferring the periods of this book that were in the more traditional mode, and sometimes had to will myself to stop beginning to scan through the more heavily internalised moments, but there’s also a sense that these moments are meant to wash over you, that the thrusts of Miller’s narrative hips can also rock you to sleep as much as fuck you.Nobody understood what I was writing about or why I wrote that way. I was so lucid that they said I was daffy.The ‘Miller’ of the ‘I’ of this story is facing a kind of existential dilemma, a process of self-discovering, but not in a very typical manner. Late in the novel, Miller uses a metaphor to describe his process as going from skating to swimming to being a stone. The ‘self’, as learned by-product of ‘otherness’—something we are taught to be—is regarded with great suspicion and like of living, or vitality. This is the skating along the surface, something he used to do as a child to get by. Coming to some sort of realization of this allows one to swim, to be in it and of it. But, finally, in a Zen-like nirvanic construction, the self becomes free from its exteriors and knowledge of itself. The stone, a motif Camus’ early work also plays with. ...He (Roy Hamilton/Macgregor) was appealing ... to the germ of the self, to the being that would eventually outgrow the naked personality, the synthetic individuality, and leave me truly alone and solitary.Some interesting and heavily counter-intuitive (and Dadaist) developments occur through this. To be selfish in the ordinary sense is to be overly concerned with others, since it is to others that you bring yourself to be selfed, for example. An ethics begin to form around the individual as singular biological event that is in itself an ethic, at least, that’s what it demands by not demanding anything. To be ‘...fixed in a reality which permits the thought that nothing is fixed...’Living is more important than life.It’s a challenging proclamation in our times maybe even more so than his own. This kind of dehumanising/humanising project that Miller proclaims is more important than saving lives or eating. It is the opposite of Polonius in ‘Hamlet’, which is the kind of standard product we are brought up with, where we are given an exhaustive list of dos and don’ts that change with the tides of the Twittersphere, and end it all with a rounding ‘to thine own self be true’. This is the spell that is put upon you, that must be broken. It’s all these details that bewilder this Miller, and all the rest of us in our more lucid moments, I suppose, and part of the expression of this bewilderment is in the substance, and part in the style. Far from being nihilistic, and at least influenced to some degree by Nietzsche and Dostoevsky, there is a great celebration of what it is to be completely real and in the moment of human life. To say Yes. To not desire other than through your immediate need and craving. Miller makes it clear in his denouement that his essential concern is not to do with eternity or God or justice, but that it’s human vitality, and the capacity of man to express that vitality....what a man does is of no great importance, it’s what he is that counts.There is only an imaginary line between the Tropics, that is, how we name them, how we make them be. It is tempting to think otherwise, because we can imagine how the world would still circle the sun in the same way if we ceased to be here drawing our lines all over the place to track such things, but the tracks are our tracks. And Miller is not reductive of this, in the end. When he is despairing of his urban landscape at one point, he suddenly realises that the landscape is just as human as he is. The lamp post he was staring dismally at is......not a thing of iron—it is a creation of the human mind... It is a human lamp post.Optimism and delight in the most ordinary aspects of man stripped down to his core is the end point, and a kind of acceptance of the idea of humanity in all its frailties. You can even says Yes and No at the same time ... just do ‘more than is expected of you.’


What do you say about a book that is almost exclusively mental masturbation? At times Miller can be excruciating but for the most part I like his boldness to turn anything floating around his head (both of them) into engaging literature. Contrary to what most reviewers have said about this one, I actually liked it best when his tangential whirlwinds focused on childhood memories and other daily minutiae rather than the bizarre sexual ones. Probably because I'm reading this in a vastly different time than when it was first published in France during the '30s and purely sexual writing doesn't pack the same punch nowadays. "Shocking" writing tends to descend into self-parody pretty quickly but I think Miller stays afloat for me because his audacity extends into all sorts of subject matter in his writing. It's a tough balancing act, but ultimately his imaginative force really is what propels this book into a triumph perhaps surpassing even Tropic Of Cancer.


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."


Well.. certainly you can’t stand indifferent to this book. It has no certain plot because, there are instead, a series of experiences of the author who is narrator, protagonist and Henry Miller the writer at the same time. He is indeed a passionate man, not only with his love interests (which by the way he never doubts in manipulating, using, admiring or describing their sexual encounters in a very raw and sometimes exaggerated way), but he is also very passionate In his way of living with his ideals and perceptions of the world. He shows himself honest and cynical, and he never doubts in revealing his deepest intentions or darkest thoughts; what makes you say he is definitely nuts (in a “good” way or maybe not so much!). And that is the deal, he enjoys and takes great pride in his peculiar nature. He finds disgusting the American society, the social conventions and ambitions everybody seems to accept without any doubt.Sometimes it seems he has lost the sense of situations or the logic of his thoughts, but in other cases he manages to write memorable pages with astonishing acuity and fresh points of view. He seems to write to himself, to accomplish the book he always mentions and the one he considers will be the way of capitalizing his potential in terms of exoneration. I found myself pretty identified when he goes through the fields of self-discovery and despite of the excessive stories he is jumping on, I must thank for the many reflections this book has awakened in me.i dont's speak english so forgive if there were too many mistakes

Stephan Hoppe

Wow, it's not often that I can't finish a book. I was able to get only to Page 65 of this one. I found this ... THING to be all but unreadable. It killed in me the joy of reading. I'd wipe my ass with this piece of crap but I think that would be disrepectful to my ass. I get that to others, that this is their Catcher in the Rye before there was a Catcher in the Rye, and oh how droll that Miller only narrates and that there is no dialogue? And aren't his streams of consciousness so darling? And what a wonderful example of early 1930s cynicism that uncannily previews modern dystopia? More than the fact that this was a bad book, is the sad fact that I sometime find myself writing in the style of Miller, and of that I am truly ashamed.

Lynne King

Seeing Jeffrey's excellent review reminded me how much I admired some of Miller's works, especially his letters to Lawrence Durrell and the Colossus of Maroussi.

Sanabel Atya

American Beauty رواية السيد هنري تُذكرني بفيلم من إنتاج هوليوود اسمه كلاهما يهدف لإزالة القشرة الخارجية المُحيطة بالمجتمع الأمريكي،والتي تمنح هذا المجتمع صورة لامعة لبقية العالم.. هدفهما فضح المجتمع الأمريكي،، فضح اللاإنسانية والبعد اللاأخلاقي في المجتمع الأمريكي. صورة مغايرة تماماً عما نراه في السينما الأمريكية.أراه قد عرّج على المجتمع الأمريكي منذ نشأته "المضروبة أساساً" حتى يوم كتابة كتابه هذا. فأولاً، هو مجتمع لص..اعتمد السرقة في بناء ذاته لأعوامٍ طويلة جداً لقرون!ثانياً، لم يحترم الآخر.. رأى نفسه هو الأعرق بجنسه الأبيض القادم من وراء البحار.. ومن السخيف جداً أن يعترض الأمريكان وامم العالم على نظرية الجنس الآري التي قال بها وقام بها هتلر، دون أدنى إشارة للتمييز العنصري الذي قام به الأوروبيون "المقتحمون" لتلك القارة الجديدة على مر عصورٍ طويلة !!ثالثاً، اليوم أمريكا.. رأسمالية عن سبق الإصرار والترصد، البقاء لمن يملك مالاً، رأسمالية قبيحة.. تُخفي وراءها العديد من الجياع الذين قلما نراهم في الواجهة الأمريكية.رابعاً، ذكر اللاحضارة الأمريكية، تماماً كما كنتُ أقول.. القارة الأمريكية بالمجتمع الحالي.. خالية من الحضارة بلاد لا تملك حضارةً أو تاريخاً عريقاً يضرب في عمق التاريخ... إنها ذات حضارة زائفة، تجمع من أعراقٍ عدة..لبناء هيكلاً لبلدٍ جديد، استمرت تلك الأعراق في العنصرية المتبادلة أعواماً. وأشك في أنهم قد اتفقوا يوماً !"كان علي أن أذهب لأغرق نفسي في خليج مكسيكو ليتوفر لي عذر للاستمرار في هذا الوجود الحضاري الزائف"*أعجبني ما قاله، عن أن المدن الأوروبية مهما تطورت و واكبت العصر،إلا أن المدينة القديمة الطابع القديم التاريخي يبقى ضارباً في عمق الأرض..على العكس من أمريكا.. التي تهدم القديم أولاً بأول لقصور عالياتٍ وناطحاتِ سحاب.هنالك نقطة صراحة صُدمت بها، فلم أكن أعلم أن المجتمع الامريكي نبذ اليهود ذات يوم.. كنتُ أظنّ أنه رحب بهم وجداً.. لكن يبدو أن اليهود قد نبذوا من كافة المجتمعات..حتى الصديقة منها اليوم،، المهم الآن، صاروا "الكل في الكل" والسيطرة لهم في دولة رأسمالية بامتياز، أليسوا هم رأس المال العالمي!أخيراً استخدامه للمسميات بلُغة الشارع،،فمن الواضح جداً أنه يقصد هذا.. وإلا كيف سيزيح الستار عن "الواجهة الجمالية لأمريكا" دون التلفظ بألفاظ الشارع.. التي تُقال في كل حين.. ولكنها تُنكر في الأدب. فمن النادر أن يقوم كاتب بذكرها كما ترد في الشارع! ملحوظة// طبيعي أن الأمريكان قد منعوا كتبه لسنينٍ خلت، كيف لا، وقد رأوا الحقيقة المُرّة التي يخشونها؟!! ومَن منا يقبلُ بالحقيقة المُرّة؟!!!////أود أن أفر هارباً صوب فجر دائم بسرعة وقسوة لا يتركان حيزاً للندامة،للحسرة أو التوبة.أودُّ أن أبزّ الإنسان الخلّاق الذي هو لعنة على الأرض كي أقف من جديد على شفير هوةٍ لا يمكن تجاوزها ولن تقوى أقدرُ الأجنحة على نقلي عبرها. حتى لو أضحيتُ حديقةً بريةً لا يؤمها غير الحالمين الكسالى، فلن أكف عن الاستراحة هنا في الحماقة المنظّمة لحياةٍ راشدةٍ مسؤولة.يجب أن أفعل هذا كذكرى لطفلٍ خُنق وكُبت بإجماع الذين استسلموا.أتبرأ من كل ما ابتكره الآباء والأمهات.أنا عائد إلى عالمٍ أصغر حتى من العالم الهيليني القديم،عائد إلى عالم أستطيع فيه أن ألمس بذراعين ممدودتين،عالمٍ مكونٍ مما أعرف وأرى وأُردك من لحظة إلى لحظة.كل عالم آخر لا معنى له بالنسبة إليّ،وغريب وعدائي. حين سأتجاوز العالم البرّاق الأول الذي عرفته طفلاُ من جديد لا أريد أن أبقى هناك بل سأشقُ طريق العودة إلى عالمٍ أشدُّ بريقاً من الذي هربت منه. أما ماذا يشبه هذا العالم فلا علم لي، ولستُ حتى متأكداً من أني سأعثرُ عليه، لكنه عالمي ولا شيء دونه يأسرُني.لا شيء يمكن تغييره إلا بتغيير القلب/ ومن يستطيع أن يغير قلوب البشر؟أروع فرصة تمنحها الحياة هي أن نكون إنسانيين.


"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.

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..


This was the first Henry Miller book I ever read, and until I read The Rosy Crucifixion, I considered it his best. Most readers and critics seem to focus on the sexual aspects of Miller's work, or else the profanity, or that his work was autobiographical, and they tend to say that his work isn't relevant to a 21st Century audience. I disagree; while his language might be more suited to an audience from an earlier time, and his cynicism and sexual explicitness might put readers off (personally, I think his sex scenes were poorly written and the least important aspect of his work), his ideas, especially concerning his life as an artist, are more relevant and illuminating than anything the publishing industry has vomited out in the last twenty years.

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