Megan Walsh writing in The Times visits the defiantly independent San Francisco bookstore and publisher that has its roots in the beatnik 1950s and a promising future in baiting the establishment.
It was established in 1953 by poet and ‘beatnik’ Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin to provide a progressive, all-paperback alternative to books available at the time. It’s where the Beat Generation laid their hats and where publishing and selling Allen Ginsberg’s Howl got Ferlinghetti and bookseller, Shigeyoshi Murao, arrested in 1957 on obscenity charges. Their victory in court guaranteed the sale of other previously banned books – including D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer. (Three years later British readers achieved similar rights after the failed prosecution of Penguin for publishing Lady Chatterley’s Lover.)