1961 August 11

Justice Department Lifts 30-Year Ban on “Tropic of Cancer”


The Justice Department on this day ordered an end to seizures by U.S. Customs of the famous Henry Miller novel Tropic of Cancer and two of his other novels, Tropic of Capricorn and Plexus. What most officials found offensive about Tropic of Cancer was Miller’s quite liberal use of the word “fuck” throughout the novel. Grove Press, owned by Barney Rosset (February 21, 2012), had begun importing the book in June.

Although the Justice Department ended its ban, the novel still faced more than 60 efforts to ban it or prosecute its publisher in local communities. Tropic of Cancer was finally declared not obscene by the Supreme Court on June 22, 1964.

Read the famous “dirty” book: Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer (1934)

Watch an interview with Henry Miller: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXTKk0qivbA

Read: Earl R. Hutchinson, Tropic of Cancer on Trial: A Case History of Censorship (1968)

Read Barney Rosset’s autobiography: Rosset: My Life in Publishing and How I Fought Censorship (2016)

Learn more: Charles Rembar, The End of Obscenity: The Trials of Lady Chatterley, Tropic of Cancer and Fanny Hill (1968)

Watch an interview with Publisher Rosset: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdweTspU_7A

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