1959 May 6

New York Post Office Seizes “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”


D. H. Lawrence’s novel, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, had been banned in the United States since it was published in Italy in 1928 because of its strong sexual content. Maverick publisher Barney Rosset, head of Grove Press, finally decided to publish the book in the U.S. On this day, the New York Post Office seized 164 copies of the novel that Grove Press was attempting to mail. Two and a half months later, on July 21, 1959, however, a U.S. District Court judge declared the novel not obscene, and it quickly became widely available in the U.S.

Rosset was a crusading opponent of censorship who also successfully fought for release of Henry Miller’s novel, Tropic of Cancer (August 11, 1961June 22, 1964). He died on February 21, 2012.

Read the famous novel: D. H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover (many editions available)

Or watch the recent movie version: Lady Chatterley (2006)

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

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

Learn about the struggle against censorship: Charles Rembar, The End of Obscenity: The Trials of Lady Chatterley, Tropic of Cancer, and Fanny Hill (1968)

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