Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives.
June 22, 1961, Vol. VI, No. 35
Postal Ban Lifted on Miller’s ‘Tropic’
The U.S. Post Office last week dismissed its complaint against Henry Miller’s famed “Tropic of Cancer,” and the American publisher of the book, Grove Press. The dismissal order came from Gerard N. Byrne of the Post Office, who said “essentially the same issues are before the United States District Court…in a case therein pending.”
The Post Office on June 12 had stated the book was “obscene, lewd, lascivious, indecent, and filthy in content.” Byrne’s technical reason for dismissing the complaint referred to two suits currently before the courts arising from the attempt by Mrs. Dorothy Upham to import a Paris edition of the work. It is believed, however, that the Justice Department’s advice to drop the complaint was the real reason behind the Post Office’s dismissal. The Justice Department reportedly opined the case would not hold up in the courts.
The Post Office stew however has not stopped Grove Press from selling the book in department stores and book shops throughout the nation. The “Tropic,” until recently obtainable in this country only through under-the-counter sales or by illegal importation, can now be picked off the shelf at such stores as Gimbel’s and Brentano’s. One department store head reported it a “run-away” best seller, even outdoing William L. Shirer’s recent phenomenal hit, “The Third Reich.” Another unofficial report credited Grove with a sale of nearly 50,000 in the first month of publication, although this was not confirmed.
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