Howl, Allen Ginsberg
First edition, second printing of the defining poem of the Beat Generation. Following the initial print run of 1,000 copies in 1956, Howl went into a second printing six months later in a run of 1,500. Upon arrival to the U.S. (it was printed by the English printer Villiers in London), customs officials seized 520 copies on grounds of obscenity. Publisher and poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, along with City Lights Bookstore manager Shigeyoshi Murao, were then arrested and charged with disseminating obscene literature. This led to the widely publicized obscenity trail which Ferlinghetti, defended by the ACLU, won. Due to the number of seized copies, the second printing of Howl is in effect more scarce than the first.
San Francisco: City Lights, 1956. Original black paper wrappers overprinted in light blue, with white hand-pasted wrap-around paper label printed in black. The wrap-around label was used only on the first and second printings. A very good copy showing traces of shelfwear, scattered light soiling and a few small stains to rear wrap. Internally clean but for a tiny dampstain to the corner of the first two pages. Protected in a removable archival sleeve.