Barney Rosset has Died at Age 89

The founder and editor of Grove Press and the publisher of works by D.H. Lawrence, Henry Miller, Samuel Beckett, William S. Burroughs and so many others who had been rejected by the American Publishing establishment, has passed away at age 89.

Rossett, who started his company ion the ground floor of his New York brownstone, grew it into a powerful publisher. From an article 4 years ago in Newsweek, John Gall wrote:

Rosset‘s publishing house, Grove Press, was a tiny company operating out of the ground floor of Rosset’s brownstone when it published an obscure play called Waiting for Godot in 1954. By the time Beckett had won the Nobel Prize in 1969, Grove had become a force that challenged and changed literature and American culture in deep and lasting ways. Its impact is still evident — from the Che Guevara posters adorning college dorms to the canonical status of the house’s once controversial authors. Rosset is less well known — but late in his life he is achieving some wider recognition.

“Last month, a black-tie crowd gave Rosset a standing ovation when the National Book Foundation awarded him the Literarian Award for ‘outstanding service’ to American letters.

“This fall, Rosset was also the subject of a documentary, Obscene, directed by Neil Ortenberg and Daniel O’Connor, which featured a host of literary luminaries, former colleagues and footage from a particularly hilarious interview with Al Goldstein, the porn king. High literature and low — Rosset pushed and published it all.”

He published a magazine, the Evergreen Review, distributed art films, and by the late 60s, added a book club and two film theaters in the Village. As a producer, he imported the controversial film I Am Curious, Yellow, which

was seized by US Customs in January 1968 and Grove had to arrange for critics to view it at the United States Appraisers Stores in New York City under an agreement that they would not “publicize the contents.” These same critics were expert witnesses at the subsequent trial in May. A jury found the film to be obscene, but the Court of Appeals overturned the decision, and for the rest of the year it was shown to packed houses by reservation only at the Evergreen Theater on East 11th Street

– Loren Glass in the L.A. Review of Books.

About btchakir

Retired Theatre Producer, Graphic Designer, Usability Tester and General Troubleshooter with a keen interest in Politics and The Stage. Currently heard on WSHC, 89.7 FM (on line at and occasionally dabbling in Community Theatre.

Posted on February 22, 2012, in Announcement, Art, Arts, Books, Cinema, Corporations, creativity, Education, film, News, Obits, Opinion, poetry, Politics, quote, Satire, Word from Bill and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. thank you very much for posting this tribute.

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