Following Barney Rosset’s National Book Award in November (and NCAC’s honoring Rosset as a Free Speech Defender), Newsweek has published a long piece on Rosset, his work and his role in bringing new literature and thought to the American conversation. An excerpt:
Before Rosset challenged federal and state obscenity laws, censorship (and self-censorship) was an accepted feature of publishing. His victories in high courts helped to change that. Rosset believed that it was impossible to represent life in the streets and in the dark recesses of the heart and mind honestly without using language that in the mid-20th century was considered “obscene”—and therefore illegal to sell or mail. To a significant extent, thehe published convinced others that this was true. Rosset wasn’t the only publisher who took risks, but he was one of the most visible and uncompromising.