[jahsonic.com] - [Next >>]
Related: censorship - prurience - erotic books - erotic fiction - American erotica - American censorship - Samuel Roth - obscenity - 1960s
Connoisseurs: Jay A. Gertman
Suddenly [after the 1957 Roth case], community standards regarding prurient interest were trumped by any value whatsoever. The publication of almost the entire corpus of explicit erotic literature became a reality. This was an epochal event, heralding nothing less than the democratization of reading in this country, for this kind of literature had prior been almost exclusively available to the wealthy or well-connected only, printed in small editions and generally cost-prohibitive for the average citizen. --Stephen J. Gertz
Roth v. United States (1957)Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476 (1957) was a landmark case before the United States Supreme Court which judged (5-4) that obscene material is not protected by the First Amendment. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roth_v._United_States [Oct 2004]
Under the common law rule that prevailed before Roth, articulated most famously in the 1868 English case Hicklin v. Regina, any material that tended to "deprive and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences" was deemed "obscene" and could be banned on that basis. Thus, works by Balzac, Flaubert, James Joyce and D.H. Lawrence were banned based on isolated passages and the effect they might have on children.
Samuel Roth, who ran a literary business in New York, was convicted under a federal statute criminalizing the sending of "obscene, lewd, lascivious or filthy" materials through the mail for advertising and selling a publication called American Aphrodite, ("A Quarterly for the Fancy-Free") containing literary erotica and nude photography. David Alberts, who ran a mail-order business from Los Angeles, was convicted under a California statute for publishing pictures of "nude and scantily-clad women." The Court granted cert and affirmed both convictions. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roth_v._United_States [Jan 2006]
Standard and TestRoth Standard: All ideas having even the slightest redeeming social importance - unorthodox ideas, controversial ideas, even ideas hateful to the prevailing climate of opinion - have the full protection of the guaranties, unless excludable because they encroach upon the limited area of more important interests. Roth v. United States 354 U.S. 476 (1957) - overturned by Miller.
Roth-Memoirs Test: a) the dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to a prurient interest in sex; (b) the material is patently offensive because it affronts contemporary community standards relating to the description or representation of sexual matters; and (c) the material is utterly without redeeming social value. (A Book Named John Cleland's Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure v. Attorney General of Massachusetts, 383 U.S. 413 (1966)) --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roth_v._United_States [Oct 2004]
Roth v. United StatesThe Roth v. United States case decided in 1957 by the U.S. Supreme Court. Samuel Roth of New York City was convicted of mailing obscene materials. On appeal his conviction was affirmed by the Supreme Court, which held that obscenity was not protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The court ruled that material is obscene if, to the average person applying contemporary community standards, the dominant overall theme appeals to prurient interest. In later decisions in 1973 and 1974 the Court held that community standards need not be national; a state can establish its own standards if it defines them explicitly. --Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, Copyright (c) [Jun 2004]
In Samuel Roth v. U.S., the Supreme Court ruled in June 1957, that for material to be declared legally obscene it had to be "utterly without redeeming social importance." Under this new definition, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that the imported French film The Game of Love, which had been closed in Chicago for displaying nudity, was not obscene. The court also quoted Roth in overturning subsequent obscenity cases against the homosexual magazine One and the nudist magazine Sunshine & Health. In 1959, a federal judge, influenced by the new definition of obscenity in Roth, rescinded the ban against the novel Lady Chatterly's Lover, calling the book's author D.H. Lawrence a genius. --Luke Ford
Stephen J. Gertz
Stephen J. Gertz is a noted historian and bibliographer of rare erotica, and an antiquarian bookdealer in Los Angeles .
West Coast Blueby Stephen J. Gertz.
The 1960s began in 1957. That was the year the United States Supreme Court upheld publisher Samuel Roth’s conviction for manufacturing and selling obscene material. The Court rejected Roth’s argument that obscenity was protected by the First Amendment.
But in Roth the Court developed a three-part formula for defining obscenity. The material had to appeal to the prurient interest of the average person, violate contemporary community standards, and be without redeeming social value. While ostensibly drawing a line in the sand, most obscenity cases since the 1930s ironically wound up obscuring that line.
In 1966, the Supreme Court was asked again to decide on obscenity. The case was Massachusetts vs. Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (aka Fanny Hill), which had been wending its way through the appellate process since 1963, when the Massachusetts Supreme Court decided the book to be obscene. Now the U.S. Supreme Court decided that a work could not be proscribed unless it was, in the majority opinion of Justice Brennan, “utterly without redeeming social value. This is so even though the book is found to possess the requisite prurient appeal and to be patently offensive.”
Suddenly, community standards regarding prurient interest were trumped by any value whatsoever. The publication of almost the entire corpus of explicit erotic literature became a reality. This was an epochal event, heralding nothing less than the democratization of reading in this country, for this kind of literature had prior been almost exclusively available to the wealthy or well-connected only, printed in small editions and generally cost-prohibitive for the average citizen.
With few exceptions, all porn book publishers of the era marketed and distributed books as they did their magazines: a 30-day shelf life with new titles to turn over every month. The publications looked like books but were actually magazines in book drag. Publishers played the numbers game, with profits based upon aggregate sales for the entire line. Newsstands, drug stores, liquor stores, cigar stores, any place that had space for a wire bookrack, were the primary point of sale. Stephen J. Gertz via http://feralhouse.com/press/sin-a-rama/excerpts/west.html from SIN-A-RAMA: Sleaze Sex Paperbacks of the Sixties (2004) - Brittany A. Daley, Adam Parfrey, Lydia Lunch, Earl Kemp, Miriam Linna, Jay A. Gertzman, John Gilmore, Michael Hemmingson, Robert Silverberg, Lynn Munroe, Stephen J. Gertz [Amazon.com] [Jan 2006]
your Amazon recommendations - Jahsonic - early adopter products