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Henry Miller

Henry Miller (December 26, 1891June 7, 1980, New York City), was an American novelist, whose novel Tropic of Cancer led to a series of controversial obscenity trials in the United States —testing the pornography laws of the time.


In his early years, he had tried a variety of jobs and briefly attended the City College of New York. In 1930, he moved to Paris, France where he lived until the outbreak of World War II. During his first winter in Paris, he came close to starving. Sleeping in a different place each night, scrounging free meals whenever possible, he chanced upon Richard Osborn, an American lawyer, who gave him a free room in his apartment. Each morning, Osborn left ten francs on the kitchen table.

In the fall of 1931, Miller got a job with the Chicago Tribune (Paris edition) as a proofreader, thanks to his friend Alfred Perlès who worked there. He took the opportunity to submit some of his articles under Perlès name, since only the editorial staff were permitted to publish in the paper. ed in 1934.

His book(s) did much to free the discussion of sexual subjects in American writing from both legal and social restrictions. He continued to write novels that were banned in the United States on grounds of obscenity. Along with Tropic of Cancer, his Black Spring (1936), and Tropic of Capricorn (1939), were smuggled into his native country, building Miller an underground reputation.

In 1940 he returned to the United States settling in Big Sur, California. There he continued to produce his vividly written works that challenged contemporary American cultural values and moral attitudes.

The publication of Miller's Tropic of Cancer in the United States led to a series of obscenity trials that tested American laws on pornography. In 1964 the Supreme Court of the United States, in Grove Press, Inc., v. Gerstein, citing Jacobellis v. Ohio (which was decided the same day), overruled the State Court findings of obscenity; it was one of the notable events in what has come to be known as the sexual revolution.

After his death, Henry Miller was cremated and his ashes scattered off Big Sur. There are two museums holding Henry Miller's watercolors: The Henry Miller Museum of Art in Omachi City in Nagano Prefecture, Japan and The Henry Miller Art Museum at Coast Gallery in Big Sur.


  • Tropic of Cancer, (Paris: Obelisk Press, 1934), ISBN 0802151825.
  • What Are You Going to Do about Alf?, (Paris: Printed at author's expense, 1935).
  • Aller Retour New York, (Paris: Obelisk Press, 1935).
  • Black Spring, (Paris: Obelisk Press, 1936), ISBN 0802131824.
  • Max and the White Phagocytes, (Paris: Obelisk Press, 1938).
  • Tropic of Capricorn, (Paris: Obelisk Press, 1939), ISBN 0802151825.
  • Henry Miller's Hamlet Letters, (with Michael Fraenkel). Vol. I (Santurce, Puerto Rico: Carrefour, 1939), ISBN 0809540584.
  • Vol. II (New York: Carrefour, 1941). Vol. I complete (New York: Carrefour, 1943).
  • The Cosmological Eye, (New York: New Directions, 1939), ISBN 0811201104.
  • The World of Sex, (Chicago: Ben Abramson, Argus Book Shop, 1940).
  • The Colossus of Maroussi, (San Francisco: Colt Press, 1941), ISBN 0811201090.
  • The Wisdom of the Heart, (New York: New Directions, 1941), ISBN 0811201163.
  • Sunday after the War, (New York: New Directions, 1944).
  • Semblance of a Devoted Past, (Berkeley, Calif.: Bern Porter, 1944).
  • The Plight of the Creative Artist in the United States of America, (Houlton, Me.: Bern Porter, 1944).
  • Echolalia, (Berkeley, Calif.: Bern Porter, 1945).
  • Henry Miller Miscellanea, (San Mateo, Calif.: Bern Porter, 1945).
  • Why Abstract?, with Hilaire Hiller and William Saroyan, (New York: New Directions, 1945), ISBN 0838318371.
  • The Air-Conditioned Nightmare, (New York: New Directions, 1945), ISBN 0811201066.
  • Maurizius Forever, (San Francisco: Colt Press, 1946).
  • Remember to Remember, (New York: New Directions, 1947), ISBN 0811203212.
  • The Smile at the Foot of the Ladder, (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1948).
  • Sexus (Book One of The Rosy Crucifixion), (Paris: Obelisk Press, 1949), ISBN 0875291732.
  • The Waters Reglitterized, (San Jose, Calif.: John Kidis, 1950), ISBN 0912264713.
  • The Books in My Life, (New York: New Directions, 1952), ISBN 0811201082.
  • Plexus (Book Two of The Rosy Crucifixion), (Paris: Olympia Press, 1953), ISBN 0802151795.
  • Quiet Days in Clichy, (Paris: Olympia Press, 1956), ISBN 080213016X.
  • The Time of the Assassins: A Study of Rimbaud, (New York: New Directions, 1956), ISBN 0811201155.
  • Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch, (New York: New Directions, 1957), ISBN 0811201074.
  • The Red Notebook, (Highlands, N.C.: Jonathan Williams, 1958).
  • Reunion in Barcelona, (Northwood, England: Scorpion Press, 1959).
  • Nexus (Book Three of The Rosy Crucifixion), (Paris: Obelisk Press, 1960), ISBN 0802151787.
  • To Paint Is to Love Again, (Alhambra, Calif.: Cambria Books, 1960).
  • Watercolors, Drawings, and His Essay "The Angel Is My Watermark," (Abrams, 1962).
  • Stand Still Like the Hummingbird, (New York: New Directions, 1962), ISBN 0811203220.
  • Just Wild about Harry, (New York: New Directions, 1963), ISBN 0811207242.
  • Greece (with drawings by Anne Poor), (New York: Viking Press, 1964).

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