A History of Jack Kahane and the Obelisk Press

Neil Pearson

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ISBN: 9781846311017

Publication: October 1, 2007

In the USA? Buy the Hardback US edition
This remarkable book details the work of one of the most extraordinary publishing enterprises in history. Censor-baiting, provocative, simultaneous publisher of the literary elite and of ‘dirty books’, Jack Kahane’s Obelisk Press published Henry Miller, Anaïs Nin, Lawrence Durrell, D. H. Lawrence, and James Joyce among others. At the same time Kahane subsidised his literary endeavours with cheap erotica and trash fiction from long-forgotten eccentrics such as New York Daily News’ Rome correspondent and self-styled ‘Marco Polo of Sex’ N. Reynolds Packard. Kahane’s business model was simple: if a book was banned in the UK and US it could be profitably published in Paris. Here, for the first time, Neil Pearson has pulled together the incendiary story of Obelisk, including biographies of Kahane and his major and minor authors, and a bibliography of Obelisk books. This beautifully written volume – part cultural history, part reference book – will be required reading for anyone interested in controversial writing, censorship, 1920s Paris, publishing history and authors such as Miller, Joyce and Nin.

Neil Pearson is a television, stage and film actor. Film and tv credits include Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and the award winning comedy Drop the Dead Donkey. This is his first book.


... Most are very interesting. I felt myself almost guilty enjoying this book because so much of it was imbued with sadness. ... At £25 this is good value and an enjoyable read
  The Library 7.9.3

Neil Pearson’s labour of scholarly love is a thought-provoking book.
John Sutherland   Mail on Sunday

Pearson is … as adroit a writer as he is watchable an actor. Everyone with an interest in literary history will enjoy Pearson's narrative.
Nicholas Clee   The Guardian

Obelisk, in Pearson’s skilled hands, is actually an entertaining and immensely readable book in its own right, full of good colour illustrations and excellent value for money. The literary world owes a lot to Kahane and the Obelisk Press, and to Pearson’s lively account of their adventurous publishing life.
Tom Rosenthal   The Independent on Sunday

Censor-defying literary salacity.
  The New York Times

Format: Hardback

Size: 239 x 163 mm

528 Pages

ISBN: 9781846311017

Publication: October 1, 2007

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