Girls Lean Back Everywhere: Laws of Obscenity and the Trials of Genius

Girls Lean Back Everywhere: Laws of Obscenity and the Trials of Genius

by Edward De Grazia

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A remarkable tour de force of literary/legal sleuthing, this massive chronicle of the conflict between artistic expression and censorship covers a vast terrain, from the burning of Zola's novels and the imprisonment of his English publisher, Henry Vizetelly, to the controversies over Robert Mapplethorpe's photographs and rap group 2 Live Crew's record album. De Grazia, a law professor at Cardozo Law School in New York City, who successfully argued the Tropic of Cancer case before the Supreme Court, focuses on writers, publishers and booksellers who stuck their necks out. Through a lively account of the trials and tribulations of James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, Radclyffe Hall, Theodore Dreiser, Henry Miller, Allen Ginsberg, Lenny Bruce and others, he demonstrates how interference with creativity by prosecutors, police and judges violates First Amendment freedoms. De Grazia anchors his arguments in legal scholarship. (Apr.)
Library Journal
De Grazia ( Censorship Landmarks , LJ 2/15/70; Banned Films , LJ 11/15/82), a renowned defender of First Amendment rights, has written a comprehensive but very readable and thought-provoking history of literary censorship and the continuing legal and constitutional struggle to define ``obscenity.'' He enhances our understanding of the ongoing conflict between art and censors by interspersing gossipy background stories with the candid, inspiring, and sometimes desperate words of authors James Joyce, Henry Miller, Vladimir Nabokov, and William Burroughs; famous publishers; and others. De Grazia firmly believes that the enlightened interpretations of the First Amendment evidenced in landmark Supreme Court decisions on Joyce's Ulysses (1933) and Miller's Tropic of Cancer (1964) have been eroded by the Burger and Rehnquist courts. Librarians have only to look at recent controversies over National Endowment for the Arts legislation and the 2 Live Crew trial to understand his warning that the ``power of art to offend and alarm seems to be as great as ever.'' Highly recommended as required reading for all librarians and everyone interested in intellectual freedom issues. For ``The Coming Censorship: A Talk with Jason Epstein,'' see Behind the Book, p. 112.--Ed.-- Jacqueline Adams, Carroll Cty. P.L., Westminster, Md.
Distinguished First Amendment lawyer de Grazia tells the story of how the arts in America finally came to be protected under the First Amendment, but even more remarkable is the revealed portrait, told often in their own voices, of those 20th century artists who defied powerful opponents to insist on their absolute right to free expression--Henry Miller, William Burroughs, Lenny Bruce, Robert Mapplethorpe, Karen Finley, et al. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

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Random House Publishing Group
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1st ed

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