barney rosset: a risktaker’s legacy

original grove press edition

We just read about the passing of Barney Rosset, founder of Grove Press. Founded in 1951, Grove became infamous for publishing controversial, avant-garde, and “obscene” works by writers like Samuel Beckett, William Burroughs, Jean Genet, Jack Kerouac, D.H. Lawrence, and Henry Miller. Rosset’s risk-taking as a publisher was admirable, even if it was sometimes off-the-cuff; his New York Times obituary recounts his decision to publish the The Autobiography of Malcolm X before even reading it. Whatever his process was, though, it worked. And as he told the Times a few years ago: “Should we have had more of a business plan? Probably. But then the publishers that did have business plans didn’t do any better.” 

With Rosset’s vision and gumption, here’s what might not have come into the world:

original grove press edition

original Grove press edition

original grove press editio

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