Monday, September 07, 2009

Tropic Of Cancer: 75th Anniversary

“TROPIC OF CANCER is, therefore, strong meat and not for the unripe intelligence. It cannot usefully be attacked or defended: it must be accepted or denied. In no work hitherto has been seen such a remorseless description of thwarted appetites and unappeased desires.”
-- Obelisk Press publicity leaflet for Tropic Of Cancer [1]

The general media may acknowledge the 75th anniversary of Tropic Of Cancer in the year 2036, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the publication of the novel in the United States in 1961. However, 2009 marks the 75th anniversary of the first pressing of Miller’s controversial masterpiece. In fact, it was 75 years ago this month, in September 1934, when the Tropic Of Cancer first edition became available in Paris.

Shifreen and Jackson’s Henry Miller: A Bibliography of Primary Sources (Vol. 1) codes the first edition of Cancer as “A9a.” It details that the book was published by the Obelisk Press (338 Rue Saint-Honoré) in Paris, and was physically printed in a batch of 1,000 by Lecram Press. Each copy sold for 50 francs and displayed the written warnings: “NOT TO BE IMPORTED INTO GREAT BRITAIN OR U.S.A.” and “MUST NOT BE TAKEN INTO GREAT BRITAIN OR U.S.A.” For each copy sold, Miller earned a 15-franc royalty.

In honour of this anniversary, I provide the following links to items (on this blog and elsewhere) regarding this classic Miller novel:

THE PHYSICAL BOOK: image of the pictoral cover, as well as the customized half-leather box it apparently came in. From Manhattan Rare Books.

THE COVER ARTWORK: notes about the cover and its young artist, Maurice Girodias.

THE PUBLISHER: overview of Jack Kahane and his Obelisk Press in Paris.

WHO'S WHO: list of the real people who are portayed as pseudonyms.

ORIGINAL FIRST DRAFT PAGES: at the Beinecke Library.

THE CHOICE OF TITLE: the meanings behind the title, Tropic of Cancer.

MILLER'S HOME AT TIME OF PUBLICATION: he moved in the day that Cancer was published.

TIMELINE OF THE NOVEL: 15 moments in the life of the novel (with emphasis on the first few steps leading to its creation and publication).

THE FILM ADAPTATION: the making of the 1970 film version.

THE HATER: Judge Michael Musmanno's quotes reflect the opinon of those who are offended by the novel.

THE PEDDLER: Eve Adams sells Cancer at Parisian cafes.

THE BLOG TOUR: MillerWalks.com takes you on a then-and-now tour of Miller's Paris, as portrayed in the novel.

THE MONETARY VALUE: the cost of a fist edition (note: visit the Manhattan Rare Books link above to see the current value).

THE COMPREHENSIVE BIBLIOGRAPHY: everything you ever wanted to know about every edition of Tropic Of Cancer.

THE SEARCHABLE TEXT: Cancer is available on Google Books, where you can read selected pages and do a word search...yes, even the naughty words.

______________________
[1] The entire single-page publicity leaf is re-printed in Karl Orend’s On the 70th Anniversary of Tropic of Cancer (Alyscamps Press, 2004). It appears to be the same text printed on the inside flap of the original novel (see image at the top of thhis post).

34 Comments:

Blogger Walter Edward said...

Thank You!

5:56 pm  
Blogger Eric D. Lehman said...

"Strong meat" - my favorite description of TOC.

10:42 am  
Anonymous Katja said...

Happy Birthday Tropic of Cancer!!!
You don't look like 75 ;-)

3:19 am  
Blogger hiro said...

Nice to meet you.

I was going to paste the link without permission because I had very felt the interest for your blog.

Please link me with the blog if it is good.

URL:http://hiro-anniversary.blogspot.com/

E-Mail:h-mori@ibs-office.com

8:02 am  
Anonymous Michael said...

The measure of a good book is when is has traversed the decades to remain fresh, and regarding the reputation that Tropic of Cancer first engendered upon its first printing, and in the light of the way the book's taboos have irrevocably been broken down, we can now see it for the transcendent work that it truly is. But to say it is timeless is maybe to demean the matter, for it feels in reading this work now that it has transcended measurement to be outside of it. It is an unconscious manifesto to humanity, which has always found something to appease the collective mind within its many labyrinths. It is grotesque, surreal and comical, and in turns a hymn to survival, liberty and freedom. It is also one of the best written paeans to the City of Light, and may its power to capture the imagination take us to its centenary.

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Anonymous mon said...

I was just wonderin' if I could still get the original cover - the one with crab by Maurice Girodias

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