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The dearest of cemeteries: European intertexts in Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer

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Abstract:

This essay reads Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer (1934) as the trace of a belated expatriate moment that forms an American literary nexus by drawing together a number of provocative European artistic contexts. Miller's relationship to the rhetoric of the manifesto is discussed, as is the creation of a powerful literary persona and narrating voice from the traces of a tissue of intertextual quotations. Miller draws on contemporary tropes of death, decadence and last things, and in the process, I argue, brings late Romantic and early twentieth-century texts from Nietzsche, Spengler, Strindberg, Goethe, Joyce, lie Faure and Giovanni Papini together to articulate a late apocalyptic modernism.

Keywords: European literature; Henry Miller; apocalyptism; avant-garde; intertextuality; modernism

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ejac.29.3.197_1

Affiliations: University of East Anglia.

Publication date: March 1, 2011

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  • The European Journal of American Culture (EJAC) is an academic, refereed journal for scholars, academics and students from many disciplines with a common involvement in the interdisciplinary study of America and American culture, drawing on a variety of approaches and encompassing the whole evolution of the country.
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