NYtimes First Amendment Crusader Barney Rosset dies.
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.
Nobody pigeonholes Barney Rosset—longtime owner of Grove Press, anti-censorship crusader, countercultural icon.
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.
Dear Schmuckie (read her letter here)
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. ”