Advertisement

Disseminating Desire

Grove Press and ‘The End[s] of Obscenity’
  • Richard Ellis
Part of the Insights book series

Abstract

The End of Obscenity1 is the title of a book published in the late 1960s written by Charles Rembar. It details the processes by which it became possible in the United States at the beginning of that decade to publish books which had been previously held to be unpublishable for fear of prosecution on the grounds of obscenity. Rembar seeks to define the processes by which the US courts in the late fifties and early sixties came to adopt what he sees as a markedly changed attitude to censorship, an assumption best encapsulated by Norman Mailer’s bold assertion in the book’s Foreword that ‘A war has been won’ (EO p. x). In this period, certainly, there was a clear increase in the number of obscenity cases brought to the courts, as made apparent by P. R. MacMillan in his detailed exploration, Censorship and Public Morality. 2 MacMillan in his book makes frequent reference to Norman St John Stevas’s Obscenity and the Law, published in 1956.3 These three books, taken together, provide three contrasting but compatible perspectives on this ‘war’: Stevas provides an antedated, preparatory critique of the history and philosophy of legal censorship; Rembar offers the reader exciting accounts of the cut and thrust of some of the courtroom battles of this period; and MacMillan a more distanced analysis invoking precedent and statute in detail.

Keywords

Publishing House Publishing Industry Public Morality Symbolic Capital Mechanical Reproduction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Charles Rembar, The End of Obscenity (London: André Deutsch, 1969). Page references in text, prefixed EO.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    P. R. MacMillan, Censorship and Public Morality (Aldershot: Gower, 1983).Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Antonio Gramsci, The Prison Notebooks (1929–35), tr.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    D. H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover (New York: Grove Press, 1959);Google Scholar
  5. Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer (New York: Grove Press, 1961);Google Scholar
  6. Hubert Selby, Last Exit to Brooklyn (New York: Grove Press, 1964);Google Scholar
  7. Pauline Reage, The Story of O (New York: Grove Press, 1966);Google Scholar
  8. William Burroughs, The Naked Lunch (New York: Grove Press, 1962).Google Scholar
  9. 6.
    John Cleland, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (New York: Putnam’s, 1965).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Serge Grunberg, A la recherche d’un corps (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1979) p. 37.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Pierre Macherey, Towards a Theory of Literary Production (French original, 1966), tr. Geoffrey Wall (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978).Google Scholar
  12. 14.
    Michael Lane, Books and Publishers: Commerce against Culture in Postwar Britain (Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books, 1980) p. 7.Google Scholar
  13. 16.
    Charles A. Madison, Book Publishing in America (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1966). Further references in text, prefixed BPA.Google Scholar
  14. 17.
    Lewis A. Coser, Charles Kadushin and Walter W. Powell, Books: The Culture and Commerce of Publishing (New York: Basic Books, 1982) p. 20ff.Google Scholar
  15. 18.
    Philip Unwin, ‘Epilogue 1960–1975’, in Stanley Unwin, The Truth about Publishing, 8th edn (London: Allen and Unwin, 1976) p. 242.Google Scholar
  16. 19.
    Ian Norrie, Mumby’s Publishing and Bookselling in the Twentieth Century, 6th edn (London: Bell and Hyman, 1982) p. 160.Google Scholar
  17. 20.
    C. Pratten and R. M. Dean, The Economics of Large-Scale Production in British Industry: An Introductory Study (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965). Page references in text, prefixed ELP.Google Scholar
  18. 32.
    D. H. Lawrence, ‘Pornography and Censorship’ (1929), quoted in Stephen Spender, ’Thoughts on Censorship in the World’, in Censorship: Fifty Years of Conflict (New York: Oxford University Press, 1964) p. 117.Google Scholar
  19. 33.
    Walter Benjamin, ‘The Work of Art in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ (1936), in Illuminations tr. Harry Zohn (London: Jonathan Cape, 1970) pp. 219–53. Individual page references in text, prefixed WA.Google Scholar
  20. 39.
    See Susanne Kappeler, The Pornography of Representation (Oxford: Polity Press, 1986), for some recent approaches to this debate, as developed by Bernard Williams and Susan Barrowclough.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© the Editorial Board, Lumiere (Co-operative) Press Ltd 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Ellis

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations