Charles Rembar  

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"Once, working on an early brief in the case, I drew two circles that overlapped just slightly. I marked one “prurient,” the other “utterly worthless". The small pointed ellipse formed by their intersection represented what might be constitutionally suppressed. Lady Chatterley's Lover did not come within it. If the book was in the circle marked “prurient,” I proposed to argue, it was surely not in the part of it that was also circumscribed by the circle marked “utterly worthless"."

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Charles Rembar (March 12, 1915 - October 24, 2000) was an American lawyer who was born in Oceanport, New Jersey and grew up in Long Branch, New Jersey. He graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor's degree in 1935 and received his law degree from Columbia Law School in 1938. He worked for several New Deal agencies after graduating from law school and then served in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II, after which he moved back to the New York area, living in Scarsdale and working in Manhattan.

Rembar was best known as a First Amendment rights lawyer. In 1959, Grove Press published an unexpurgated version of Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence. The U.S. Post Office confiscated copies sent through the mail. Rembar, working for Grove Press, sued the New York city postmaster and won in New York and then on federal appeal. Subsequently, he defended Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer and John Cleland's Fanny Hill—the latter argued before the U.S. Supreme Court—which played a major role in changing the nation's approach to obscenity.

In 1968, he published a book documenting the trials called The End of Obscenity: The Trials of Lady Chatterley, Tropic of Cancer and Fanny Hill, which won a George Polk Award in journalism. In 1975, he published a collection of wide-ranging essays titled Perspective. In 1980 he wrote The Law of the Land: The Evolution of Our Legal System, a general history of the evolution of Anglo-American law, written for the non-lawyer and non-historian.

Rembar founded the law firm of Rembar & Curtis, which represented writers such as Louise Erdrich, Tom Clancy, Herman Wouk, and Norman Mailer both as lawyers and often as literary agents as well.



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