Following the introduction in Tropic of Capricorn (1939) of the woman who would be at the center of the "great tragedy of love" Henry Miller planned to compose about his life in Brooklyn in the 1920s before he left for Paris to write Tropic of Cancer (1934) he turned toward a plan for a multi-volume series of books tracing the way his nascent artistic consciousness began to develop amidst a complex, unsettling relationship with the woman based on his second wife June Smith. He called this series "the Rosy Crucifixion," and he wrote three loosely related works entitled Sexus (1949), Plexus (1953), and Nexus (1960).
Characteristically, in Sexus, Miller has centered the narrative in the mind of the character called "Henry Miller" — his version of himself in his auto-novels — but has gone further in the composition of Sexus than in any other book to examine the facets of his psychic foundations and to try to understand his great difficulties with both the woman who dominated his life and the effect their tempestuous relationship had on his writing.
The protagonist of Sexus has just emerged from the Cosmo demonic world of Capricorn, elated by his rapturous response to the woman called Mara (and then Mona in Nexus) and hopeful that his worst times — financial, artistic and familial failure — are in the past. He is concerned that their relationship, following the excitement...
(The entire section is 589 words.)