The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Mamet to Pinter to Beckett


The maverick publisher of Grove Press Barney Rosset is to receive a lifetime achievement award on November 19th, 2008, from the National Book Foundation in honor of his many contributions to American publishing, according to the New York Times:

In its heyday during the 1960s, Grove Press was famous for publishing books nobody else would touch. The Grove list included writers like Samuel Beckett, Jean Genet, William S. Burroughs, Che Guevara and Malcolm X, and the books, with their distinctive black-and-white covers, were reliably ahead of their time and often fascinated by sex.

Also the subject of a new documentary ‘Obscene’ about his life and work, Mr. Rosset said:

“All my life I followed the things that I liked — people, things, books — and when things were offered to me, I published them. I never did anything I really didn’t like. I had no set plan, but on the other hand we sometimes found ourselves on a trail. For example, out of Beckett came Pinter, and Pinter was responsible for Mamet. It was like a baseball team — Mamet to Pinter to Beckett… Should we have had more of a business plan?” he added. “Probably. But then the publishers that did have business plans didn’t do any better.”



More on Barney Rosset and ‘Obscene’ at New York Magazine

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