A report on William S. Burroughs and Obscenity

Burroughs in the 1980s
Cover of an undated American edition of Fanny Hill, c. 1910
William S. Burroughs' childhood home on Pershing Place in St. Louis
The 18th century book Fanny Hill has been subject to obscenity trials at various times (image: plate XI: The bathing party; La baignade)
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

Many historically important works have been described as obscene or prosecuted under obscenity laws, including the works of Charles Baudelaire, Lenny Bruce, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, Henry Miller, Samuel Beckett, and the Marquis de Sade.

- Obscenity

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

- William S. Burroughs
Burroughs in the 1980s

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Howl and Other Poems was published in the fall of 1956 as number four in the Pocket Poets Series from City Lights Books.

Howl (poem)

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Poem written by Allen Ginsberg in 1954–1955 and published in his 1956 collection Howl and Other Poems.

Poem written by Allen Ginsberg in 1954–1955 and published in his 1956 collection Howl and Other Poems.

Howl and Other Poems was published in the fall of 1956 as number four in the Pocket Poets Series from City Lights Books.
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.

Although Ginsberg referred to many of his friends and acquaintances (including Neal Cassady, Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Peter Orlovsky, Lucien Carr, and Herbert Huncke), the primary emotional drive was his sympathy for Carl Solomon, to whom it was dedicated; he met Solomon in a mental institution and became friends with him.