Start Date

28-4-2015 1:00 PM

End Date

28-4-2015 2:15 PM

Disciplines

Cultural History | Legal | United States History

Subjects

Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) -- Censorship, Censorship -- United States -- History, Trials (Obscenity) -- California -- San Francisco, Howl (Ginsberg)

Abstract

The 1957 “Howl” obscenity trial, which covered the constitutionality of utilizing obscene words in literature, was largely influential in the development of literary free expression in America. This case centered on Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems, a work which represented the ideals and culture of the literarily experimental and sexually promiscuous Beat Generation. The expansion of free expression can be discerned through the tolerance of these sexual implications in literature, which is documented throughout the history of sexual suppression in past censorship cases. The victory of the “Howl” obscenity trial was essential for liberating the use of sexual references in literature, which consequently opened the gates to the cultivation of free expression.

Rights

© Copyright the author(s)

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Persistent Identifier

http://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/15225

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Apr 28th, 1:00 PM Apr 28th, 2:15 PM

A Howl of Free Expression: the 1957 Howl Obscenity Trial and Sexual Liberation

The 1957 “Howl” obscenity trial, which covered the constitutionality of utilizing obscene words in literature, was largely influential in the development of literary free expression in America. This case centered on Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems, a work which represented the ideals and culture of the literarily experimental and sexually promiscuous Beat Generation. The expansion of free expression can be discerned through the tolerance of these sexual implications in literature, which is documented throughout the history of sexual suppression in past censorship cases. The victory of the “Howl” obscenity trial was essential for liberating the use of sexual references in literature, which consequently opened the gates to the cultivation of free expression.