- In his 1948 autobiography, poet and writer Robert W. Service wrote a few comments about Tropic of Cancer, for example, "Of course the book shocked me but I could not deny a strange flicker of genius in its wildest fights."
- In chapter 2 of William Gaddis's 1955 novel The Recognitions, set in Paris in the 1930s, an artist complains "I've got to show these pictures, I've got to sell some of them, but how can I have people coming up there with him there? He's dying. I can't put him out on the street, dying like that . . . even in Paris" (63-64), which echoes the scene in Tropic of Cancer where the artist Kruger tries to get the sick Miller out of his studio so that he can exhibit his pictures. "People can't look at pictures and statues with enthusiasm when a man is dying before their eyes" (Grove ed., 195).
- In his 1960 short story "Entropy", Thomas Pynchon begins with a quote from this novel.
- In the 1965 novel God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut, Lila reads the book "as though... [it] were Heidi".
- In the 1969 novel The Seven Minutes by Irving Wallace, the book and the trial are mentioned.
- In the 1994 play Pterodactyls by Nicky Silver, the novel is mentioned by the character Emma: "She reads poems by Emily Bronté and I read chapters from The Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller."
- In Carl Hiaasen's 1995 Stormy Weather a character quotes a line from the novel.
- In the 1998 nonfiction book Rocket Boys, Quentin shows Sonny a copy of Tropic of Cancer and asks him "You want to know about girls?"
- Satirical songwriter and mathematics instructor Tom Lehrer stated that he intended to write a million-selling math book which he would call Tropic of Calculus.
- The 1980s British band The Weather Prophets was named after a line in the opening paragraph of the novel: "Boris has just given me a summary of his views. He is a weather prophet."
- Frontman Henry Rollins of the hardcore punk band Black Flag was heavily affected by the book as well and frequently made references to it in his songs, often taking lyrics directly from Tropic of Cancer. He would also read passages of it to his audiences mid-show.
- In the song "Delirium of Disorder" by punk band Bad Religion, the opening verse quotes the novel, "Life is a sieve through which my anarchy strains resolving itself into words. Chaos is the score on which reality is written...".
- In the song "Protest Song 68" by Refused, the opening verse quotes the novel, "To sing you must first open your mouth. You must have a pair of lungs..."
- In the song "Ashes of American Flags" by Wilco, one phrase from the lyrics is taken from the novel: "A hole without a key."
- In 2012, the American grindcore band Pig Destroyer used a passage from the book on tape, read by Larry King, as the introduction to their song The Bug on their album entitled Book Burner.
- Film and television
- In a 1962 episode of the TV series Perry Mason ("The Case of the Bogus Books"), a character tells another that "Tropic of Cancer is not a medical book. Far from it."
- In the 1985 film After Hours, the protagonist Paul is reading the book in a coffee shop when a Marcy comments on it from the table across, setting the events of the film in motion.
- In the 1963 film, Take Her, She's Mine, adapted from Phoebe and Henry Ephron's play of the same name, Jimmy Stewart, as Mr. Michaelson, reads the (soon to be banned by the mayor) book written by Henry Miller. Sandra Dee, Stewart's daughter in the film, has organized a sit-in style protest against banning the book.
- The novel is read and discussed in After Hours, a 1985 film by Martin Scorsese.
- In the 1991 version of Cape Fear, also directed by Scorsese, the characters of Max Cady and Danielle Bowden discuss the book briefly.
- In the 1991 Seinfeld episode "The Library", Jerry is accused of never returning a copy of the book to the public library after borrowing it many years before, during high school, in 1971. It is revealed that the book was stolen by the gym teacher while a gang of jocks were beating up on George. In the present day, the gym teacher still holds the library book, despite being homeless and insane.
- In the 1990 movie Henry & June the first draft of the book is referenced and discussed by Henry and friends.
- In the 2000 romantic comedy film 100 Girls, the characters Dora and Matthew read an excerpt from Tropic of Cancer together: "Your Sylvester! ... After me you can take on stallions, bulls, rams, drakes, St. Bernards."
- At the beginning of the 2000 movie Final Destination, Clear (Ali Larter) is reading Tropic of Cancer upon arrival at the airport.
- In the 2010 telenovela ¿Dónde Está Elisa? a copy of the book is found in Elisa's locker at school.
- In Season 2 of Ozark (TV series) Jonah reads an explicit excerpt of the book to Buddy.
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