Obscene: A Portrait of Barney Rosset and Grove Press
Robert Scheer, known for his fearless journalism, cofounded the online progressive news magazine Truthdig. While working at City Lights Books in the early 1960s he cowrote Cuba, an American Tragedy, published by Grove Press, one of many books he has penned.
Barney Rosset acquired the then fledgling Grove Press in 1951 and soon embarked on a career of publishing and political engagement on the barricades of free expression. The first American publisher of Samuel Beckett, Kenzaburo Oe, Tom Stoppard, Che Guevara, John Rechy, and Malcolm X, he went to the Supreme Court to break the obscenity ban on works of fiction such as Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Tropic of Cancer, and Naked Lunch. Changing the course of literary history didn’t come without a price.
A Very British Pornographer: The Jack Kahane Story
Jon Willers, United Kingdom, 2016
Actor and antiquarian book dealer Neil Pearson travels to Paris to discover one of the least likely lights in twentieth-century literature, Jack Kahane, who published significant works of the avant-garde—including books by James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, Anaïs Nin, Lawrence Durrell, and Henry Miller—in Paris, in English. All were too racy to see print in Britain or the US. Kahane supported his literary idols by selling their opposite number: low-grade smut.