New York: Random House, 1992. 1st Edition. Thick octavo, publisher's black cloth over cream paper-covered boards, spine stamped in silver, upper board stamped in metallic red, original photo-illustrated dust jacket.
First edition of scholar and leading First Amendment lawyer Edward de Grazia’s landmark chronicle of literary censorship. Best known for successfully overturning the US publication ban on Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, de Grazia handled several obscenity cases in the realms of art and literature throughout his illustrious and controversial career. Charting several watershed trials from the careers of literary heavyweights including James Joyce, Vladimir Nabokov, and William Burroughs to cases concerning contemporary artists such as Robert Mapplethorpe and Karen Finley, this comprehensive narrative history of obscenity laws advocates for the tenets of free expression de Grazia believes must be preserved for the success of our ostensible democracy. The title derives from early 20th-century little magazine publisher Jane Heap's rebuttal to the prosecution for her efforts to publish a chapter from Joyce's Ulysses: "Mr. Joyce was not teaching early Egyptian perversions nor inventing new ones. Girls lean back everywhere, showing lace and silk stockings; wear low-cut sleeveless blouses, breathless bathing suits; men think thoughts and have emotions about these things everywhere—seldom as delicately and imaginatively as Mr. Bloom (in the 'Nausicaa' episode) – and no one is corrupted." With extensive endnotes, a bibliography and index. Stated first edition on the copyright page, with 2 the lowest number in number row, indicating first printing per the publisher's custom from 1976 onwards. Minor dampstaining to tail of spine, with dye staining verso of unclipped dust jacket. Near fine. Item #3068