Howl on Trial by Bill Morgan
The Battle for Free Expression

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Synopsis


To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Howl and Other Poems, with nearly one million copies in print, City Lights presents the story of editing, publishing, and defending Allen Ginsberg’s landmark poem within a broader context of obscenity issues and censorship of literary works.


This collection begins with an introduction by publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who shares his memories of hearing “Howl” first read at the 6 Gallery, of his arrest, and the subsequent legal defense of Howl’s publication. Never-before--published correspondence of Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, Kerouac, Gregory Corso, John Hollander, Richard Eberhart, and others provides an in-depth commentary on the poem’s ethi-cal intent and its social significance to the author and his contemporaries. A section on the public reaction to the trial includes newspaper reportage, op-ed pieces by Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti, and letters to the editor from the public, which provide fascinating background material on the cultural climate of the mid-1950s. A timeline of literary censorship in the United States places this battle for free expression in a historical context.


Also included are photographs, transcripts of relevant trial testimony, Judge Clayton Horn’s decision and its ramifications, and a long essay by Albert Bendich, the ACLU attorney who defended Howl on constitutional grounds. Editor Bill Morgan discusses more recent challenges to Howl in the late 1980s and how the fight against censorship continues today in new guises.

 

About Bill Morgan

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Bill Morgan is a painter and archival consultant working in New York City. He is the author of The Beat Generation in San Francisco: A Walking Tour of Jack Kerouac's City and a new biography of Allen Ginsberg, I Celebrate Myself.
 
Published November 1, 2006 by City Lights Publishers. 224 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

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A fascinating assortment of material—newspaper articles, transcripts, photographs, letters from the principals, commentary—on the 1957 obscenity trial in San Francisco that pitted the “people” against City Lights, the bookshop that published and sold Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems.

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Publishers Weekly

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For the 50th anniversary of the publication of Allen Ginsberg's Howl and Other Poems , the poet's archivist and biographer Morgan and City Lights publishe

Sep 25 2006 | Read Full Review of Howl on Trial: The Battle for...

Publishers Weekly

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For the 50th anniversary of the publication of Allen Ginsberg's Howl and Other Poems , the poet's archivist and biographer Morgan and City Lights publisher Peters, and City Lights was Howl 's original publisher) have assembled this intermittently fascinating collection of documents, mostly relate...

Sep 25 2006 | Read Full Review of Howl on Trial: The Battle for...

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