“To laugh at yourself is the most important thing …” In Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller’s semi-autobiographical novel, which was published in France in 1934 and banned in the United States until the 1960s, he writes “I have no money, no resources, no hopes. I am the happiest man alive.” Directed by Robert Snyder, The Henry Miller Odyssey captures the essence of Miller as he reminisces about his childhood in Brooklyn, reads passages from his works and revisits his old haunts in Paris, where he lived in poverty and made lifelong friends with many artists and writers, including Anais Nin, Alfred Perles and Lawrence Durrell (the two old buddies have a fascinating discussion about suicide). The Henry Miller Odyssey would make a great double feature with Henry & June (1990), the first film to receive an NC-17 rating.
Useless Trivia: Snyder was one of the producers of The Titan: Story of Michelangelo (1950), which won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
Did You Know …
• Miller was 43 years old when Tropic of Cancer was first published in 1934 by Obelisk Press in Paris.
• Tropic of Cancer was finally published in the United States in 1964 after the Supreme Court ruled the book as not being obscene (Grove Press, Inc. vs. Gerstein).
• Ezra Pound on Tropic of Cancer: "At last, an unprintable book that's readable."
• Miller's pet names for his second wife June's breasts: Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn.
• George Orwell called Tropic of Cancer "the most important book of the mid-1930s."
• Samuel Beckett referred to Tropic of Cancer as "a momentous event in the history of modern writing."