The Turner prize nominated artist Tracey Emin has been commissioned to redesign covers for the Penguin editions of two classic novels by Henry Miller ‘Tropic of Cancer’ and ‘Tropic of Capricorn’. Emin’s sexually charged art is a perfect match for Miller’s novels which were groundbreaking when they were published by Grove Press in the 1930s. Tropic of Cancer was actually banned in the United States. The trial subsequently led to an obscenity case that tested American laws on pornography in the early 1960s. In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the books non-obscene. They are widely regarded as important masterpieces of 20th-century literature.
Henry Valentine Miller (December 26, 1891 – June 7, 1980) was an American writer. He was known for breaking with existing literary forms, developing a new sort of semi-autobiographical novel that blended character study, social criticism, philosophical reflection, explicit language, sex, surrealist free association and mysticism. His most characteristic works of this kind are Tropic of Cancer (1934), Black Spring (1936), Tropic of Capricorn (1939) and The Rosy Crucifixion trilogy (1949–59), all of which are based on his experiences in New York and Paris, and all of which were banned in the United States until 1961. He also wrote travel memoirs and literary criticism, and painted watercolours.
Tracey Emin was born in 1963 in London, where she currently lives and works. She was appointed Professor of Drawing at the Royal Academy of Art in 2011 and in 2007, represented Great Britain at the 52nd Venice Biennale. She has exhibited extensively internationally, including solo exhibitions ‘Tracey Emin: Ten Years’ at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam in 2002; ‘Tracey Emin: Twenty Years’ at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh in 2008 (which subsequently toured to CCA Malaga and Kunstmuseum Bern); ‘Love is What You Want’, Hayward Gallery, London in 2011; ‘She Lay Down Deep Beneath the Sea: Tracey Emin at the Turner Contemporary’, Turner Contemporary, Margate in 2012; ‘Tracey Emin: How it feels’ at the Museo de Arte Latino americano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), Argentina in 2012 and ‘Tracey Emin: Angel Without You’ at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami in 2013.
Image Tracey Emin Tropic of Capricorn bookjacket courtesy Penguin Books all rights reserved