cover image Rosset: My Life in Publishing and How I Fought Censorship

Rosset: My Life in Publishing and How I Fought Censorship

Barney Rosset. OR Books, $28 (370p) ISBN 978-1-944869-04-5

In this posthumous memoir, Rosset recounts his experiences growing up in Chicago and his life in the publishing industry from the 1950s through to the 1990s and 2000s. Rosset was a WWII veteran and a skilled raconteur, perhaps best known for fighting off legal challenges from the censors (and the post office) in order to publish D.H. Lawrence’s unexpurgated Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer. His friendship and correspondence with Samuel Beckett led to a long publishing relationship and to Rosset serving as the theatrical agent of Beckett’s estate in the U.S. Some of his other famous friends included publisher Maurice Girodias of Olympia Press, author Kenzaburo Oe, and playwright Harold Pinter. Rosset had a major interest in producing theater and films, where he found the same kinds of censorship battles, such as over the risqué Swedish film I Am Curious (Yellow), as he did in literature. Rosset delves into his personal life and recounts his relationships and romances, starting with his first wife, the painter Joan Mitchell. Rosset’s life and career are essential parts of American literary history, and being able to read the story in his own glittering prose is invaluable. B&w photos. (Jan.)