Barney Rosset, the founder and publisher who ran Grove Press, died and is written up in this NYTimes obituary. I still have my copy, purchased in high school, of The Monk, by Matthew Gregory Lewis. At the time, as today, I had a taste for gothic excess in literature. When I say gothic, I mean in the original literary sense: Vathek, Melmoth the Wanderer, Confessions of a Justified Sinner, and that sort of thing. The Monk is in a class by itself, however, moving over the line from dark romantic fantasies and frissons into peverse and pornographic lunacy.
Grove is famous for battling the censorious US Postmaster, and winning, in cases involving Lady Chatterlee’s Lover and Tropic of Cancer. Many got their fill of Divine Marquis by perusing the pages of the fat, brick-like three volumes of de Sade in the bookstore, even if they didn’t buy them to finish at home.