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Barney Rosset R.I.P

February 23rd, 2012

(via)

NYtimes First Amendment Crusader Barney Rosset dies.

LA Obit

Barney Rosset, the renegade founder of Grove Press who fought groundbreaking legal battles against censorship and introduced American readers to such provocative writers as Harold Pinter, Samuel Beckett, Eugene Ionesco and Jean Genet, died Tuesday in New York City. He was 89.
His daughter, Tansey Rosset, said he died after undergoing surgery to replace a heart valve.

Original Maverick

Nobody pigeonholes Barney Rosset—longtime owner of Grove Press, anti-censorship crusader, countercultural icon.

Paris Review Interview

Always undercapitalized, Grove often paid low advances. But writers came to Grove because it championed their work in an often hostile environment. In the fifties, repressive obscenity laws made it illegal to publish D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer. Rosset deliberately set out to overturn these laws, publishing and defending these books, and others, in court. Over the years, Grove took on hundreds of lawsuits, in the process expanding the range of public discourse.

Letter from Paris
Joan Mitchell to Barney Rosset
July 9,1948

Dear Schmuckie (read her letter here)

  • Miami Herald

    Rosset’s first interest was film. Cinematographer Haskell Wexler was a childhood friend and during World War II Rosset met the directors John Huston and Frank Capra while attending the Signal Corps photographic school.(read more here)

    Barney and Joan Mitchell (See a photo of Barney in front of Joan’s nude photo – yes another nude photo)

    Joan Mitchel -Early Years (Read how Joan got Barney to Grove.)

    “That happened through my first wife, Joan Mitchell, later a very famous artist. Joan’s mother was at one time the editor of Poetry magazine and a poet herself. Joan was a very astute person, with a very good taste for writing, just as good as it was for painting. She was the one who really directly got me into Grove. ”

  • Barney Rossett and Joan Mitchell -Part II

    September 26th, 2008

    barney1
    Barney posing in front of a portrait of Joan Mitchell in Maya by Goya pose.

    Mitchell’s confrontational defenses made it almost impossible for her to maintain an intimate relationship, and she and Rosset probably got along better as friends, after their divorce in 1952. Rosset would unsuccessfully try to win her back, and poignantly describes their relationship as that of “brother and sister.” He remembers Mitchell being “great” in the same way he found Samuel Beckett to be. The combativeness that made it so difficult for Mitchell to sustain a partnership would, however, help protect her in the almost exclusively male world in which she wanted to become a serious contender. She could be as drunken and belligerent – and as sensitive – as any of the males who dominated the world that she now joined with surprising speed. (Remembering Barney and Joan )

    Barney Rossett has a blog.
    The founder of Grove Press, Rossett is to be celebrated soon this November.
    Publisher Who Fought Puritanism, and Won – Charles MaGrath

    On Nov. 19 Mr. Rosset will receive a lifetime achievement award from the National Book Foundation in honor of his many contributions to American publishing, especially his groundbreaking legal battles to print uncensored versions of “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” and Henry Miller’s “Tropic of Cancer.” He is also the subject of “Obscene,” a documentary by Neil Ortenberg and Daniel O’Connor, which opens on Friday at Cinema Village.

    Here is a good article about Barney’s attempt to write his autobiography and his enduring friendship with Samuel Beckett, also happend to be his business partner – You Can’t Paint That!

    Read previous post on Joan and Barney their early years here.

    joanmitchel
    Painting by Joan Mitchell. (See more Joan Mitchell paintings here)

    More juicy trivia for Joan Mitchell….

  • Joan Michell was a figure skater when she was a teenager in Chicago, according to John Perreault.
  • Joan Mitchell’s love letter to Michael Goldberg is here.
  • Joan and Mike joanmiketwo abstract painters
    Michael Goldberg paintings here

    Joan Mitchell – Barney Rossett, Early Years – New York – Paris

    January 14th, 2005

    Joan Mitchell Painting
    While researching Joan Mitchell’s early years and her friendship with Samuel Beckett,

    I came upon this beguiling website.
    Found out how Barney Rosset took over Grove Press in 1951 and went on to publish such writers as Samuel Beckett, Henry Miller, William S.Burroughs, and Marguerite Duras, and time after time created landmark cases against censorship in the United States for the right to print these important works.
    More about Barney and his coverage of war torn China here. He explains how he got into publishing; “That happened through my first wife, Joan Mitchell, later a very famous artist. Joan’s mother was at one time the editor of Poetry magazine and a poet herself. Joan was a very astute person, with a very good taste for writing, just as good as it was for painting. She was the one who really directly got me into Grove. ”
    On publishing Chatterlay’s Lover, Barney said,
    “To me, the direct line of descent was – you know, like a lineup in baseball – Lawrence to Miller to Burroughs.

    You can read about his lunch with Henry Miller and Samuel Beckett,
    or on Beckett’s Film and the Beats.
    “I was leaning something today about Beckett’s Film. Within that film, and within Beckett, things go from the state of “I Am” to the state of “I Am Not”. In other words, to die. Film is about a person looking who doesn’t want to be seen,but if he’s not seen he doesn’t exist.The struggle not to be seen is to die,and is to face death. ”

    Barney observed Kerouac and Jackson Pollack were similar in a way that they were unhappy and tortured. About the Beats, he said, “Burroughs was the pope, Allen was the heart, and Kerouac was the soul. Allen was the father who loved everybody and could hold them together.” (from
    here.)

    Boys & Gals, a review of Mitchell’s work by John Haber. Here is an entry from a blog on Joan Mitchell.

    Update;
    Frank & Joan
    A Look at Their Friendship