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Grove Press and Barney Rosset, America’s Maverick Publisher and His Battle against Censorship

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


An incisive, compulsively readable biography of the man the Guardian called "the most influential avant-garde publisher of the twentieth century."

An impetuous outsider who delighted in confronting American hypocrisy and prudery, Barney Rosset liberated American culture from the constraints of Puritanism. As the head of Grove Press, he single-handedly broke down the laws against obscenity, changing forever the nature of writing and publishing in this country. He brought to the reading public the European avant-garde, among them Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter, radical political and literary voices such as Malcolm X, Che Guevara, and Jack Kerouac, steamy Victorian erotica, and banned writers such as D. H. Lawrence, Henry Miller, and William Burroughs. His almost mystical belief in the sacrosanct nature of the First Amendment essentially demarcates the before and after of American publishing.

Barney explores how Grove's landmark legal victories freed publishers to print what they wanted, and it traces Grove's central role in the countercultural ferment of the sixties and early seventies. Drawing on the Rosset papers at Columbia University and personal interviews with former Grove Press staff members, friends, and wives, it tells the fascinating story of this feisty, abrasive, visionary, and principled cultural revolutionary—a modern "Huckleberry Finn" according to Nobel Prize–winning novelist Kenzaburo Oe—who altered the reading habits of a nation.

From Publishers Weekly

Feb 20, 2017 – Early in this biography of Grove Press publisher Barney Rosset (1922 2012), Rosenthal (Nicholas Miraculous: The Amazing Career of the Redoubtable Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler) details the contents of a paper entitled "Henry Miller vs Our Way of Life,' " written by Rosset as a freshman at Swarthmore after reading Tropic of Cancer. It's the same paper Rosset quoted in court nearly two decades later in 1962 when he was accused of publishing the banned book solely to make money from smut. This was a remarkable moment in the biography of a man determined to end "Comstockery," but it comes nearly 100 pages after the reader learns about the essay, in one of the many moments when Rosenthal seems stuck in minutiae. The book effectively describes Rosset's successful legal battles against censorship, and Rosenthal illustrates his subject's publishing philosophy with his decision to publish Samuel Beckett and William Burroughs to American audiences, and his lack of business acumen with his sale of the company's Manhattan headquarters for pennies on the dollar. Rosenthal also delves into Rosset's personal life and his passion for Victorian erotica, which helped sustain Grove, but the book works best when it focuses on 20th-century censorship.
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  • $24.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Mar 07, 2017
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing
  • Seller: The Perseus Books Group, LLC
  • Print Length: 232 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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