Disseminating Desire

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


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.


Publishing House Publishing Industry Public Morality Symbolic Capital Mechanical Reproduction 
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  1. 1.
    Charles Rembar, The End of Obscenity (London: André Deutsch, 1969). Page references in text, prefixed EO.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
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  3. 4.
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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Ellis

There are no affiliations available

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