RIP Barney Gosset

Posted by – February 23, 2012

He published Ginsberg, Beckett, DH Lawrence, and Henry Miller – whose Tropic of Cancer which attracted 60 legal cases and attempted bans in 21 states. Naked Lunch. The Story of O. Waiting for Godot. He made Beckett’s film Film – starring Buster Keaton – possible. His offices at Grove were bombed after he published Che Guevara.


Mr. Rosset liked to tell the story of how he had responded to a Chicago prosecutor who suggested that he had published “Tropic of Cancer” only for the money. He whipped out a paper he had written on Miller while at Swarthmore (the grade was a B-) to demonstrate his long interest in that author. He won the case.

“I remember leaving the courtroom and somehow getting lost going home,” he told The Times in 2008. “It was snowing. But I was so happy that I thought, ‘If I fall down and die right here, it will be fine.’ ”

Au revoir, Mr. Gosset. Thanks for blowing the lid off the thing for the rest of us and giving the US some kind of chance at being culturally literate.

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