From the moment Lawrence Ferlinghettti decided to publish what he knew would be a controversial book, Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl,” the die was cast. There was no turning back.
And here is something most people just don’t know: Ferlinghetti set the whole thing up. He knew what the rules were. He knew you couldn’t print certain words in a book in the United States of America in 1956. Lawrence Ferlinghetti expected to be arrested for his actions. So he did the smartest thing you could imagine – he sent a pre-release copy of “Howl” to the American Civil Liberties Union to ask their legal opinion. He was testing the system, and he was willing to risk jail to see if he was right. The rest, of course, is history.
– The Beat Museum, firstname.lastname@example.org