Barney’s Wall, a new seventy-three-minute documentary, probes the psyche of literary bad boy and culture warrior Barney Rosset, who battled censors, smashed sexual taboos, and unleashed the sixties counterculture, introducing millions of young intellectuals to the hippest currents in literature, film, theater, and radical politics.

Flamboyant, principled, and provocative, Barney changed the cultural landscape of America. As publisher at Grove Press, his defiant publication in the early sixties’s of D.H. Lawrence’s then-banned Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, and William Burroughs’s Naked Lunch landed him in costly First Amendment battles that led all the way to the Supreme Court. These relentless crusades broke the back of that era’s literary censorship laws, which were abolished in landmark decisions. Grove went on to publish now canonical, then avant-garde, authors ranging from Samuel Beckett and Jean Genet to the Beats and Malcolm X, and—after yet another First Amendment battle—to the distribution of the classic erotic film I Am Curious Yellow.

On Saturday, November 18, New York University’s Forum on Law, Culture, and Society will host a screening of Barney’s Wall followed by and a conversation with the film’s producer/director/writer  Sandy Gotham Meehan, writer and editor Alan Kaufman, Paris Review editor Lorin Stein, and New Republic editor Win McCormack.

More information and tickets at NYU’s Forum on Law, Culture, and Society. 

Read our Art of Publishing interview with Rosset.



Back to Past