28+ quotes from Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

Quotes from Tropic of Cancer

Henry Miller ·  318 pages

Rating: (52.6K votes)


“I need to be alone. I need to ponder my shame and my despair in seclusion; I need the sunshine and the paving stones of the streets without companions, without conversation, face to face with myself, with only the music of my heart for company.”
― Henry Miller, quote from Tropic of Cancer


“Everybody says sex is obscene. The only true obscenity is war.”
― Henry Miller, quote from Tropic of Cancer


“To have her here in bed with me, breathing on me, her hair in my mouth—I count that something of a miracle.”
― Henry Miller, quote from Tropic of Cancer


“And for that one moment of freedom you have to listen to all that love crap... it drive me nuts sometimes... I want to kick them out immediately... I do now and then. But that doesn't keep them away. They like it, in fact. The less you notice them the more they chase after you. There's something perverse about women... they're all masochists at heart.”
― Henry Miller, quote from Tropic of Cancer


“I believe that today more than ever a book should be sought after even if it has only one great page in it. We must search for fragments, splinters, toenails, anything that has ore in it, anything that is capable of resuscitating the body and the soul.”
― Henry Miller, quote from Tropic of Cancer


“Do anything, but let it produce joy. Do anything, but let it yield ecstasy.”
― Henry Miller, quote from Tropic of Cancer


“I’m an egotist, but I’m not selfish. There’s a difference. I’m a neurotic, I guess. I can’t stop thinking about myself. It isn’t that I think myself so important... I simply can’t think about anything else, that’s all. If I could fall in love with a woman that might help some. But I can’t find a woman who interests me.”
― Henry Miller, quote from Tropic of Cancer


“I've lived out my melancholy youth. I don't give a fuck anymore what's behind me, or what's ahead of me. I'm healthy. Incurably healthy. No sorrows, no regrets. No past, no future. The present is enough for me. Day by day. Today!”
― Henry Miller, quote from Tropic of Cancer


“She rises up out of a sea of faces and embraces me, embraces me passionately--- a thousand eyes, noses, fingers, legs, bottles, windows, purses, saucers all glaring at us an we in each other's arm oblivious. I sit down beside her and she talks--- a flood of talk. Wild consumptive notes of hysteria, perversion, leprosy. I hear not a word because she is beautiful and I love her and now I am happy and willing to die.”
― Henry Miller, quote from Tropic of Cancer


“People are like lice - they get under your skin and bury themselves there. You scratch and scratch until the blood comes, but you can't get permanently deloused. ”
― Henry Miller, quote from Tropic of Cancer


“I made up my mind that I would hold onto nothing, that I would expect nothing.”
― Henry Miller, quote from Tropic of Cancer


“I'm a bit retarded, like most Americans.”
― Henry Miller, quote from Tropic of Cancer


“On the meridian of time, there is no injustice: there is only the poetry of motion creating the illusion of truth and drama.”
― Henry Miller, quote from Tropic of Cancer


“An artist is always alone - if he is an artist. No, what the artist needs is loneliness.”
― Henry Miller, quote from Tropic of Cancer


“At the bottom of every frozen heart there is a drop or two of love―just enough to feed the birds.”
― Henry Miller, quote from Tropic of Cancer


“Paris is like a whore. From a distance she seems ravishing, you can't wait until you have her in your arms. And five minutes later you feel empty, disgusted with yourself. You feel tricked.”
― Henry Miller, quote from Tropic of Cancer


“You must be life for me to the very end," so he writes. "That is the only way in which to sustain my idea of you. Because you have gotten, as you see, tied up with something so vital to me, I do not think I shall ever shake you off. Nor do I wish to. I want you to live more vitally every day, as I am dead. That is why, when I speak of you to others, I am just a bit ashamed. It's hard to talk of one's self so intimately”
― Henry Miller, quote from Tropic of Cancer


“I too love everything that flows: rivers, sewers, lava, semen, blood, bile, words, sentences. I love the amniotic fluid when it spills out of the bag. I love the kidney with it’s painful gall-stones, it’s gravel and what-not; I love the urine that pours out scalding and the clap that runs endlessly; I love the words of hysterics and the sentences that flow on like dysentery and mirror all the sick images of the soul...”
― Henry Miller, quote from Tropic of Cancer


“To sing you must first open your mouth. You must have a pair of lungs, and a little knowledge of music. It is not necessary to have an accordion, or a guitar. The essential thing is to want to sing. This then is a song. I am singing.”
― Henry Miller, quote from Tropic of Cancer


“Well, I'll take these pages and move on. Things are happening elsewhere. Things are always happening. It seems wherever I go there is drama. People are like lice - they get under your skin and bury themselves there. You scratch and scratch until the blood comes, but you can't get permanently deloused. Everywhere I go people are making a mess of their lives. Everyone has his private tragedy. It's in the blood now - misfortune, ennui, grief, suicide. The atmosphere is saturated with disaster, frustration, futility. Scratch and scratch, until there's no skin left. However, the effect upon me is exhilarating. Instead of being discouraged or depressed, I enjoy it. I am crying for more and more disasters, for bigger calamities, grander failures. I want the whole world to be out of whack, I want every one to scratch himself to death.”
― Henry Miller, quote from Tropic of Cancer


“...the monstrous thing is not that men have created roses out of this dung heap, but that, for some reason or other, they should want roses. For some reason or other man looks for the miracle, and to accomplish it he will wade through blood. He will debauch himself with ideas, he will reduce himself to a shadow if for only one second of his life he can close his eyes to the hideousness of reality. Everything is endured- disgrace, humiliation, poverty, war, crime, ennui- in the belief that overnight something will occur, a miracle, which will render life tolerable. And all the while a meter is running inside and there is no hand that can reach in there and shut it off.”
― Henry Miller, quote from Tropic of Cancer


“When I realize that she is gone, perhaps gone forever, a great void opens up and I feel that I am falling, falling, falling into deep, black space. And this is worse than tears, deeper than regret or pain or sorrow, it is the abyss into which Satan was plunged. There is no climbing back, no ray of light, no sound of human voice or human touch of hand.”
― Henry Miller, quote from Tropic of Cancer


“For a hundred years or more the world, our world, has been dying. And not one man, in these last hundred years or so, has been crazy enough to put a bomb up the asshole of creation and set it off. The world is rotting away, dying piecemeal. But it needs the coup de grace, it needs to be blown to smithereens. Not one of us is intact, and yet we have in us all the continents and the seas between the continents and the birds of the air. We are going to put it down ― the evolution of this world which has died but which has not been buried.”
― Henry Miller, quote from Tropic of Cancer


“Once I thought that to be human was the highest aim a man could have, but I see now that it was meant to destroy me. To-day I am proud to say that I am inhuman, that I belong not to men and governments, that I have nothing to do with creeds and principles. I have nothing to do with the creaking machinery of humanity - I belong to the earth!”
― Henry Miller, quote from Tropic of Cancer


“There will be more calamities, more death, more despair. Not the slightest indication of a change anywhere. The cancer of our time is eating us away. Our heroes have killed themselves, or are killing themselves. ”
― Henry Miller, quote from Tropic of Cancer


“I am a free man―and I need my freedom. I need to be alone. I need to ponder my shame and my despair in seclusion; I need the sunshine and the paving stones of the streets without companions, without conversation, face to face with myself, with only the music of my heart for company. What do you want of me? When I have something to say, I put it in print. When I have something to give, I give it. Your prying curiosity turns my stomach! Your compliments humiliate me! Your tea poisons me! I owe nothing to any one. I would be responsible to God alone―if He existed!”
― Henry Miller, quote from Tropic of Cancer


“This is not a book in the ordinary sense of the word. No, this is a prolonged insult, a gob of spit in the face of art, a kick in the pants to God, Man, Destiny, Time, Love, Beauty... what you will. ”
― Henry Miller, quote from Tropic of Cancer


“You can forgive a young cunt anything. A young cunt doesn't have to have brains. They're better without brains. But an old cunt, even if she's brilliant, even if she's the most charming woman in the world, nothing makes any difference. A young cunt is an investment; an old cunt is a dead loss. All they can do for you is buy you things. But that doesn't put meat on their arms or juice between their legs.”
― Henry Miller, quote from Tropic of Cancer


About the author

Henry Miller
Born place: in Yorkville, Manhattan, New York City, The United States
Born date December 26, 1891
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