Obelisk Press was an English-language press based in Paris, founded by British publisher Jack Kahane in 1929.
Manchester-born novelist Kahane began the Obelisk Press after his publisher, Grant Richards, went bankrupt. Going into partnership with a printer — Herbert Clarke, owner of Imprimerie Vendôme— Kahane, as "Cecil Barr", published his next novel Daffodil under his own imprint in 1931. A writer and publisher of "db's" ("dirty books"), Kahane mixed serious work with smut in his list; he has been described as "a quite bizarre blend of ultra-sophisticated, avant-garde literary entrepreneur and, by the standards of his time, pornographer." He was able to take advantage of the fact that books published in France in English were not subject to the kind of censorship practised in Britain at the time. However, they were still subject to confiscation by British and US customs officers.
Kahane published Henry Miller's 1934 novel, Tropic of Cancer , which had explicit sexual passages and could not therefore be published in the United States; Obelisk published five more books by Miller, as well as Richard Aldington's Death of a Hero (1930), Anaïs Nin's Winter of Artifice (1939), Cyril Connolly's first book and only novel, The Rock Pool (1936), James Joyce's Haveth Childers Everywhere and Pomes Penyeach (1932), Frank Harris's My Life and Loves (1934) and Lawrence Durrell's The Black Book (1938), Squadron 95 by war hero Harold Buckley, James Hanley's Boy (1935) and Some Limericks by Norman Douglas. He reprinted Radclyffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness , which had been banned in Britain in 1928.
Kahane also published many forgotten authors, including Norah James, Canadian poet Laurence Bradford Dakin and Nadejda de Bragança.
Kahane's wife Marcelle and their son Maurice (later known as Maurice Girodias) worked as cover illustrators for the imprint.
Kahane died within days of the outbreak of World War II, having just finished his final book, on 3 September 1939. This book, Memoirs of a Booklegger, marked the end of Obelisk for several years, until his son (who took his mother's birth name, Girodias, during the war to evade detection as a Jew) briefly revived it in the years following the war. Selling in large quantities to the American G.I.s passing through Paris on their return home, Miller's best-known works were republished alongside other English-language books, such as Memoirs of Fanny Hill . Girodias also published a few important works in French including George Bataille's literary review Critique and Nikos Kazantzakis's Alexis Zorbas (1947). Girodias largely abandoned the Obelisk Press name when he discovered that new titles under the name would not sell and he founded the Olympia Press in 1953.
Alexander Whitelaw Robertson Trocchi was a Scottish novelist.
This article contains information about the literary events and publications of 1929.
Neil John Pearson is a British actor, known for his work on television. He was nominated for the 1994 BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor for Between the Lines (1992–1994). His other television roles include Drop the Dead Donkey (1990–1998), All the Small Things (2009), Waterloo Road (2014–2015), and In the Club (2014–2016). His film appearances include all three of the Bridget Jones films. He is also an antiquarian book dealer who specialises in the expatriate literary movement of Paris between the World Wars.
Tropic of Capricorn is a semi-autobiographical novel by Henry Miller, first published by Obelisk Press in Paris in 1939. A prequel of sorts to Miller's first published novel, 1934's Tropic of Cancer, it was banned in the United States until a 1961 Justice Department ruling declared that its contents were not obscene.
Stanford University Press (SUP) is the publishing house of Stanford University. It is one of the oldest academic presses in the United States and the first university press to be established on the West Coast. It was among the presses officially admitted to the Association of American University Presses at the organization's founding, in 1937, and is one of twenty-two current member presses from that original group. The press publishes 130 books per year across the humanities, social sciences, and business, and has more than 3,500 titles in print.
Olympia Press was a Paris-based publisher, launched in 1953 by Maurice Girodias as a rebranded version of the Obelisk Press he inherited from his father Jack Kahane. It published a mix of erotic fiction and avant-garde literary fiction, and is best known for the first print of Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita.
Maurice Girodias was a French publisher who was the founder of the Olympia Press. At one time he was the owner of his father's Obelisk Press. He spent most of his productive years in Paris.
Grove Press is an American publishing imprint that was founded in 1947. Imprints include: Black Cat, Evergreen, Venus Library, and Zebra. Barney Rosset purchased the company in 1951 and turned it into an alternative book press in the United States. He partnered with Richard Seaver to bring French literature to the United States. The Atlantic Monthly Press, under the aegis of its publisher, Morgan Entrekin, merged with Grove Press in 1991. Grove later became an imprint of the publisher Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Jack Kahane was a writer and publisher who founded the Obelisk Press in Paris in 1929.
John "Jonathan" Gilmore was an American author and gonzo journalist known for iconoclastic Hollywood memoirs, true crime literature and hard-boiled fiction. A motion picture, television and stage actor in Los Angeles and New York in the 1950s, his friends including James Dean and Marilyn Monroe, Gilmore has also written about his encounter with Elizabeth Short a.k.a. "The Black Dahlia" during his youth. Gilmore emerged as a writer from the Beat Generation in the '60s, influenced by Jack Kerouac and befriended by author William S. Burroughs. The publication of his true crime book "Severed: The True Story of the Black Dahlia," ushered in a cult following for the author. His manuscripts and original writings are housed in the special collections department of the Research Library of the University of California at Los Angeles.
Austryn Wainhouse was an American author, publisher and translator, primarily of French works and most notably of the Marquis de Sade. He sometimes used the pseudonym Pieralessandro Casavini.
Aller Retour New York is a novel by American writer Henry Miller, published in 1935 by Obelisk Press in Paris, France.
My Life and Loves is the autobiography of the Ireland-born, naturalized-American writer and editor Frank Harris (1856–1931). As published privately by Harris between 1922 and 1927, and by Jack Kahane's Obelisk Press in 1931, the work consisted of four volumes, illustrated with many drawings and photographs of nude women. The book gives a graphic account of Harris's sexual adventures and relates gossip about the sexual activities of celebrities of his day.
Black Spring Press is an independent English publishing house founded in the early 1980s.
Charles Beadle was a novelist and pulp fiction writer, best known for his adventure stories in American pulp magazines, and for his novels of the bohemian life in Paris.
Robert Hale Limited was a London publisher of fiction and non-fiction books, founded in 1936, and also known as Robert Hale. It was based at Clerkenwell House, Clerkenwell Green. It ceased trading on 1 December 2015 and its imprints were sold to The Crowood Press.
John "Steve" Stevenson was a British writer who, under the pen name Marcus van Heller, wrote erotic fiction for the Traveller's Companion series of Olympia Press publisher (1955–1961). Later he also wrote under the pen name Stephen John.
Boy, James Hanley's second novel, first published in 1931 by Boriswood, is a grim story of the brief life and early death of a thirteen year old stowaway from Liverpool. After several editions had been published in 1931 and 1932, a cheap edition, published in 1934, was prosecuted for obscene libel and the publisher heavily fined.
Norah Margaret Ruth Cordner James was a prolific English novelist whose first book Sleeveless Errand (1929) was ruled obscene at the Bow Street Police Court.
Gladys Sheila Donisthorpe, born Gladys Millie Leon, was a London-born novelist and playwright.