The book publisher who championed the works of beat poets and Samuel Beckett, and who defied censors with the publication of Lady Chatterley's Lover and Tropic of Cancer, died Tuesday at age 89. Fresh Air remembers Rosset with excerpts from a 1991 interview.
This interview was originally broadcast on Apr. 9, 1991.
No One Knows about Persian Cats, which won the Special Jury Prize at last year's Cannes Film Festival, has now opened in theaters across the U.S. Critic John Powers says that Bahman Ghobadi's film — about outlaw musicians in Iran — is a reminder of the liberating potential of rock.
Ravitch is the author of the new book, The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn. In her book she chronicles the efforts of school boards and bias and sensitivity committees to edit and shape the textbooks that end up in classrooms. Some examples of this include: omitting the mention of Jews in an Isaac Bashevis Singer story about prewar Poland, changing the expression "My God!" to "You don't mean it," and recommending that children not be shown as disobedient or in conflict with adults.
Filmmaker Jamsheed Akrami is a scholar of Iranian film. His two documentaries are Dreams Betrayed and Friendly Persuasion: Iranian Cinema After the Revolution. Together, they explore Iranian filmmaking before and after the 1979 revolution. In Iranian films, male and female characters are not allowed to touch, ever, and women must be veiled at all times. Despite these and other limitations, Iranian cinema has garnered international critical acclaim. Akrimi is an associate professor at William Paterson University.
Forman talks about his life, filmmaking career and his latest project, directing "The People vs. Larry Flynt." Among his film credits: "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Next," "Hair," and "Ragtime." Forman won an Academy Award for Best Director for the film "Amadeus." Forman was born in Caslav, Czechoslovakia and became an American citizen in 1975. He lives in New York.
Filmmaker John McNaughton whose first film was the cult hit of 1990, "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer". "We all have the murderous urge," McNaughton says of his main character in that film, who as an anonymous everyman, kills many people without recognition nor retribution from society at large.
Terry talks with two authors of children books which were once part of the reading list for the Rainbow curriculum in the New York Public schools. The two books were controversial, and removed from the list, because they dealt with children of gay parents. Leslea (Les-LEE-ah) Newman is the author of "Heather has Two Mommies," and Michael Willhoite wrote "Daddy's Roommate." (Both books are published by Alyson Publishers, Boston, Mass).
Commentator Maureen Corrigan reviews "Free Speech for Me--But Not for Thee," by Nat Hentoff. The iconoclastic writer gives his opinions on various free speech issues -- many of which he reported on as a journalist.
Hungarian writer Gyorgy Konrad. When he was 11 he bribed local police so that he and his sister could leave town and escape being deported. In 1974 he and a fellow writer were arrested in Budapest and imprisoned shortly for writing a sociological manuscript which was considered "subversive." Asked to leave the country, he decided a writer "should not emigrate, should not turn away from the risks of his profession." Konrad has written several novels, "The Case Worker," "The City Builder.
Amy Scholder and Ira Silverberg are the editors of "High Risk," a new anthology of writings that challenge the authors' self-imposed censorship concerning topics like unsafe sex, drug use, and sadomasochism.
Critic John Leonard says the new trio of texts exploring the controversy stirred by the Satanic Verses vary in style, form, and slant. But all of them overlook a neglected part of the story: the responses of religious leaders in the West, who seemed to have learned nothing from their faith traditions' condemnation of great thinkers like Galileo, Martin Luther, and even Jesus Christ.
Czechoslovakian writer and publisher Josef Skvorecky (shkor-et-skee). Since fleeing Czechoslovakia in 1968, Skvorecky and his wife have lived in Toronto, where they run "68 Publishers," an outlet for dissident writers. For years, the output of his publishing house has been smuggled into his former homeland, and secretly passed from hand-to hand, keeping alive the voices of Czech writers such as Vaclav Havel and Milan Kundera.
Lawyer and First Amendment expert Martin Garbus has a new book called Traitors and Heroes. He discusses the Lenny Bruce obscenity trials, the Reagan administration's effect on news coverage, and censorship issues abroad.
Philadelphia Ed Hermance is named as a co-conspirator in an obscenity trial in England for smuggling "obscene" materials to London's prominent gay bookstore Gay's the Word. Hermance is the co-owner of Philadelphia's Giovanni's Room, a gay and feminist bookstore, and he believes the trial represents discrimination.