Cover of an undated American edition of Fanny Hill, c. 1910
Howl and Other Poems was published in the fall of 1956 as number four in the Pocket Poets Series from City Lights Books.
The 18th century book Fanny Hill has been subject to obscenity trials at various times (image: plate XI: The bathing party; La baignade)
The administrative board of Yleisradio is getting ready to discuss the broadcast of “Howl” in December 1969.

Upon the poem's release, Ferlinghetti and the bookstore's manager, Shigeyoshi Murao, were charged with disseminating obscene literature, and both were arrested.

- Howl (poem)

In 1957, two associates of acclaimed poet Allen Ginsberg were arrested and jailed for selling his book "Howl and Other Poems" to undercover police officers at a beatnik bookstore in San Francisco. Eventually the California Supreme Court declared the literature to be of "redeeming social value" and therefore not classifiable as "obscene". Because the poem "Howl" contains pornographic slang and overt references to drugs and homosexuality, the poem was (and is) frequently censored and confiscated; however, it remains a landmark case.

- Obscenity
Cover of an undated American edition of Fanny Hill, c. 1910

1 related topic

Alpha

Burroughs in the 1980s

William S. Burroughs

American writer and visual artist, widely considered a primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodern author who influenced popular culture and literature.

American writer and visual artist, widely considered a primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodern author who influenced popular culture and literature.

Burroughs in the 1980s
William S. Burroughs' childhood home on Pershing Place in St. Louis
William S. Burroughs and James Grauerholz in the alley behind the Jazzhaus in Lawrence, Kansas (1996)
Burroughs and David Woodard with Brion Gysin Dreamachine, 1997

The novel was initially rejected by City Lights Books, the publisher of Ginsberg's Howl; and Olympia Press publisher Maurice Girodias, who had published English-language novels in France that were controversial for their subjective views of sex and antisocial characters.

Once published in the United States, Naked Lunch was prosecuted as obscene by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, followed by other states.