Tropic of Cancer

Writing and publication

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I am living at the Villa Borghese. There is not a crumb of dirt anywhere, nor a chair misplaced. We are all alone here and we are dead.

— First passage excerpt

Miller wrote the book between 1930 and 1934 during his "nomadic life" in Paris.[5]:105–107 The fictional Villa Borghese was actually 18 Villa Seurat in Paris' 14th arrondissement.[6] As Miller discloses in the text of the book, he first intended to title it "Crazy Cock".[7] Miller gave the following explanation of why the book's title was Tropic of Cancer: "It was because to me cancer symbolizes the disease of civilization, the endpoint of the wrong path, the necessity to change course radically, to start completely over from scratch."[5]:38

Anaïs Nin helped to edit the book.[5]:109 In 1934, Jack Kahane's Obelisk Press published the book with financial backing from Nin, who had borrowed the money from Otto Rank.[5]:108[8]:116

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