FAN 205 New Book: “The People v. Ferlinghetti: The Fight to Publish Allen Ginsberg’s HOWL”

March 20, 2019

Last week Rowman and Littlefield released Collins & Skover’s The People v. Ferlinghetti: The Fight to Publish Allen Ginsberg’s Howl (hard cover: $30 with photos). Here is the abstract of our latest book:

Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s name does not appear in any First Amendment treatise or casebook. And yet when the best-selling poet and proprietor of City Lights Books was indicted under California law for publishing and selling Allen Ginsberg’s poem, Howl, Ferglinghetti buttressed the tradition of dissident expression and ended an era when minds were still closed, candid literature still taboo, and when selling banned books was considered a crime.

The People v. Ferlinghetti is the story of a rebellious poet, a revolutionary poem, an intrepid book publisher, and a bookseller unintimidated by federal or local officials. There is much color in that story: the bizarre twists of the trial, the swagger of the lead lawyer, the savvy of the young ACLU lawyer, and the surprise verdict of the Sunday school teacher who presided as judge. With a novelist’s flair, noted free speech authorities, Ronald K. L. Collins and David Skover tell the true story of an American maverick who refused to play it safe and who in the process gave staying power to freedom of the press in America. The People v. Ferlinghetti will be of interest to anyone interested [in] the history of free speech in America and the history of the Beat poets.

 

Blurbs

This article is part of First Amendment News, an editorially independent publication edited by Professor Ronald K. L. Collins and hosted by FIRE as part of our mission to educate the public about First Amendment issues. Opinions expressed are those of the article's author(s) and may not reflect the opinions of FIRE or of Professor Collins.