The World of Law: A Treasury of Great Writing about and in the Law, Short Stories, Plays, Essays, Accounts, Letters, Opinions, Pleas, Transcripts of Testimony; from Biblical Times to the Present - Vol. 2

By Ephraim London | Go to book overview

Henry Miller


A LETTER DEFENDING THE FREEDOM TO READ

On May 10th, 1957, the book Sexus ( The Rosy Crucifixion), by the world- famous American author, Henry Miller, was ordered by the Attorney General [of Norway] to be confiscated on the grounds that it was "obscene writing."

Volume I of the Danish edition of the book had at this stage been available for over eight months on the Norwegian market, and was on sale in a considerable number of the most reputable bookshops in the country.

Copies of the book were confiscated in a total of 9 bookshops. Proceedings were instituted against two of these booksellers, chosen at random. . . .

In a judgment pronounced by the Oslo Town Court on June 17th, 1958, the two booksellers were found guilty of having "offered for sale, exhibited, or in other ways endeavored to disseminate obscene writing," and this judgment has now been appealed to the Supreme Court.

It is and has been my pleasure and privilege to act as defending counsel. As a result of my official association with this case I have enjoyed a certain measure of personal contact, through the medium of correspondence, with that eminent author and warmhearted and talented fellow human, Henry Miller.

The letter addressed to myself which is reproduced in this document, and which constitutes Henry Miller's ardent appeal to the tribunal of the Norwegian Supreme Court, is intended by him to assist in the defense of the most important bastion of freedom, democracy, and humanism: the freedom to read.

Trygve Hirsch
Barrister-at-Law

-606-

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