The crab, (‘cancer’ in astrology) is, some feel, representative of Miller’s unrepressed writing style, being the only creature which moves sideways and backwards, as well as forwards. But the book’s title has a more prophetic import as well: “Do you know why I called my first book Tropic of Cancer?” he wrote to his friend, the photographer Brassai, “it was because to me cancer symbolises the disease of civilisation, the endpoint of the wrong path, the necessity to change course radically, to start completely over from scratch.” Somewhere between novel and diary, essay and poetry, metaphysics and pornography, the appearance of Cancer signalled a new era in literature;