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Henry Miller
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Henry Miller

Henry Miller (December 26, 1891 - June 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.

Table of contents
1 Biography
2 Works
3 External Links


In early life, 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, Henry Miller got a job at the Tribune 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. That same year, at the Villa Seurat in Montparnasse, he wrote the novel Tropic of Cancer, published in 1934.

His anti-puritanical 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 which attacked contemporary American cultural values and moral attitudes.

The ultimate publication of Miller's Tropic of Cancer novel 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 overruled the State Court findings of obscenity, 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.


External Links