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Tropic of Capricorn (Harper Perennial Modern Classics) Paperback – 3 May 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; New Ed edition (3 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007204450
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007204458
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 340,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

‘The world of Capricorn is peopled by eccentrics and nymphomaniacs, to say nothing of the incorrigibly eccentric Miller himself. There is also a memorable portrait of his father, a delicate account of childhood, and savage, humane comedy in the bedlam of an employment office. The rest: fornication and anarchism, sometimes very funny, always rich, exultant and honest.’
Sunday Times

‘In the course of Tropic of Capricorn, Miller as a Miss Lonelyhearts of the Cosmodemonic Telegraph Company, hires and fires an inexhaustible queue of ex-convicts and whores who turn the office into a hive of degradation. Miller lives constantly at the flashpoint of violence, which he manages to convert to comedy without undermining the anger’
Observer

‘Tropic of Capricorn is a teeming frieze of fights, copulations and epiphanies. The emphasis is on the mysterious value of ordinary life, not its futility’
New Statesman

‘A superb entertainment’
New York Times

From the Back Cover

A riotous and explosive mixture of joys and frustrations, 'Tropic of Capricorn' chronicles Miller's early life in New York, from his repressive Brooklyn childhood spent amongst 'a galaxy of screwballs' to frantic, hilarious years of dead-end jobs and innumerable erotic adventures. Irreverent and ironic, 'Tropic of Capricorn' is both a comic portrait of the irrepressible Miller himself and a scathing attack on respectable America, the very foundations of which he hoped to shatter.

Publication of 'Tropic of Capricorn' and its sister-volume 'Tropic of Cancer' in Paris in the 1930s was hailed by Samuel Beckett as 'a momentous event in the history of modern writing'. The books were subsequently banned in the UK and the USA for nearly thirty years.

"The world of Capricorn is peopled by eccentrics and nymphomaniacs, to say nothing of the incorrigibly eccentric Miller himself. There is also a memorable portrait of his father, a delicate account of childhood, and savage, humane comedy in the bedlam of an employment office. The rest: fornication and anarchism, sometimes very funny, always rich, exultant and honest"
SUNDAY TIMES

"In the course of 'Tropic of Capricorn', Miller as a Miss Lonelyhearts of the Cosmodemonic Telegraph Company, hires and fires an inexhaustible queue of ex-convicts and whores who turn the office into a hive of degradation. Miller lives constantly at the flashpoint of violence, which he manages to convert to comedy without undermining the anger"
OBSERVER

"'Tropic of Capricorn' is a teeming frieze of fights, copulations and epiphanies. The emphasis is on the mysterious value of ordinary life, not its futility"
NEW STATESMAN

"A superb entertainment"
NEW YORK TIMES

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. White on 27 April 2006
Format: Paperback
I read this book, having seen reviews on other sites, and having read Henry and June by Anais Nin and some of her other novels. People had made comments that this book changed their life, and their way of looking at the world. I found it liberating. There are moments of clarity which strike resonance and truly make you stand back and revalue the accepted. There is a review on this site that calls this book disgusting. They missed the point. By a long way. There is an energy and vitality to Millers writing that is infectious, and quite simply, brilliant.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Danyal H. Abbasi on 15 Mar. 2006
Format: Paperback
To say that Henry Miller hated humanity is a complete falsehood. To quote from his essay 'The Hour of Man': "By responding with a full spirit to any demand which is made upon us we aid our fellow man to help himself". The reaction of one of the other reviewers demonstrates the enduring greatness of this book, and that its power to shock lies not in its famed obscenity but in its unparalleled honesty. When I read Henry Miller I am continuously struck by the truthfullness of what I read. This can be too much for some people to bear, to quote from the same essay:
"We hide from the face of reality: it is too terrible, we think. Yet it is we, we, only we, who have created this hideous world. And it is we who will change it- by changing our own inner vision."
I should also say that Miller's prose style is virtuosic and NOT 'stream-of-consciousness'. Miller does not present us with the inner thoughts of characters written in such a way as to reflect the processes of thought. He writes mostly from the first person, but with such freedom and virtuosity as I have never come across. Like a bird trapped in a cage, Miller sings his heart out for the pure joy of it. Reading this book for the first time was the most moving experience I have ever had when engaging with a work of art.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Strange on 18 April 2011
Format: Paperback
I first picked this book up in Australia when I was travelling up the east coast, I was in Surfers Paradise at the time. This was the first Miller book I had ever read and it moved me beyond words. It is the prequel to his classic The Tropic of Cancer and tells the story of Miller before he set off to Paris on his bohemian escepade. The novel in itself is reflective on Miller having the inner-strength and wisdom to give up his conventional working lifestyle and being able to move out of that box that we get stuck in from time to time.

Miller was fed-up with America and writes of his hatred of the monotonous and repetitive nature of everyday working life. He worked in an office for a telegraphing company and it's not so much what or where Henry Miller is writing about, it's his raving rants, his ingenius flow of words which he uses to describe the feelings he felt for the lifestyle in the twenties. He writes with great spiritual insight and is the deepest writer who has written in auto-biographical format.

If you can identify with Miller's unconventional attitude towards conformity and his desire to escape this depressive way of life it will only make you yearn to go travelling to really explore the world for what it really is. Henry also inspired the beat generation and if you enjoyed 'On The Road' then no doubt you will like this book too as it has a terrific flow but Miller is slightly more fiery. Miller was a great artist and I recommend you watch his interviews on youtube as well as if you listen to his voice you will understand what I mean as he was far ahead of his time...
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By geraint ellis on 20 July 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an instance where the 'Star' system of reviewing simply does not work. Parts of this book are worthy of far more than 5 Stars while other areas barely merit 1 Star - hence my title, 'Some glorious moments in many terrible half-hours' - a term I once read in relation to Wagner's music. This book is Wagnerian in scale, while the female vagina serves as the 'Leitmotiv' (leading motif).
The 'Overture' - the first 60 or so pages, provide examples of some of the best writing I've yet encountered; but once we get into the book proper it often feels as though Miller does not really know where he intends to take us ... The 'Glorious Moments' are still there, but in-between these there are volumes of self-indulgent writing, usually related to historical figures/themes that do not always relate closely to the supposed idea of the book - growing up and being thoroughly disillusioned by life in the USA.
I think it's hugely misogynistic. Sad. Why insult and attempt to degrade the one thing one supposedly adores? To be this way hurts me as surely as it must hurt every woman on the planet. As a result of this it fails miserably in the arena of 'Erotica'. (I think it's as sexy as standing in the queue of a Salvation Army Soup Kitchen) It's called 'demystifying the female parts'. Really? Tell me; which man on this earth finds the female 'parts' a mystery? (Oh, for the fumbling, bungling day it once was) Having said all that, I believe the 'Glorious Moments' to be wonderful examples of genius at work - particularly the sections concerned with writing (page 32/3/4)- or the Dostoyevsky references (189) etc. and I also believe that, for anyone who is a writer or a writing student, then this book is a treasure trove of ideas and 'how to say it'. How sad it is that it is so uneven, and for that reason alone the Star system of reviewing simply does not work - hence my pathetic 3 stars.
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