Freedom of expression and the lyrics of American beatniks. Obscenity and the limits of freedom?


  • Katarzyna Bagan-Kurluta University of Bialystok (Uniwersytet w Białymstoku)


freedom of speech/expression, censorship, obscenity, bitniks, beat generation


Freedom of speech is guaranteed to every person by international agreements concerning the protection of human rights and by national constitutions. Freedom of expression is regarded as one of the pillars of democracy, the determinant of a wide sphere of human freedom. But should every statement, even the most controversial, be the subject of protection? Does obscene speech deserve such protection? The answer to these questions seems to be justified especially in the age of Internet – the instrument offering the possibility of unrestricted flow of information.


Konstytucja USA, online:; wraz z Komentarzem do Pierwszej Poprawki, online:

US Code (18 USC 1461), online:

Brockett v. Spokane Arcades, Inc., 472 U.S. 491, 498 (1984).

Ginzburg et al. V. United States. Certiorari To The United States Court Of Appeals For The Third Circuit. No. 42. 383 U.S. 463 (1966) 383 U.S. 463.

Memoirs v. Massachusetts, 383 U.S. 413 (1966).

Miller v. California 413 U.S. 15 (1973).

Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476, 514 (1957).

The People of The State Of California Plaintiff Vs. Lawrence Ferlinghetti Defendant Hon. Clayton W. Horn Judge, online:

United States v. One Book Called “Ulysses” 5 F. Supp. 182 (S.D.N.Y 1933), aff’d United States v. One Book Entitled Ulysses by James Joyce, 72 F2d 705 (2nd Cir. 1934).

Biblia Tysiąclecia, Poznań 2003.

Burroughs W.S., Nagi lunch, Kraków 2013.

Collins English Dictionary, Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition 2009, William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009.

Ginsberg A., Przypisy do Skowytu,

Ginsberg A., Skowyt,

Heir‘s Pistol Kills His Wife; He Denies Playing Wm. Tell, „New York Daily News” Sept. 7, 1951.

Holmes J.C., This Is a Beat Generation, „N.Y. Times Mag.” Nov. 16, 1954.

Howl on trial. The battle for free expression, red. B. Morgan, N.J. Peters, San Francisco 2006.

Kerouac J., W drodze, Warszawa 1993.

Kirsch H.C., W drodze. Poeci pokolenia beatników, Warszawa 2006.

Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc.

Round the World. Bitniks in Paris, 42 „Police J.” 107 1969.

Simmons J.L., Chambers H., Public Stereotypes of Deviants, 13 Soc. Probs. 223 1965-1966.

Student is silent on slaying friend, „The New York Times” August 18, 1944.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright 2000 by Houghton Miffl in Company. Updated in 2009, Houghton Miffl in Company.

Theado M., Why Another Beat Story?: The Modem Significance of the Beats, 37 Seattle U. L. Rev. vii 2013.

Banned Books Online. Penn University,

Beat Generation. Dictionary of American History. 2003. 29 Apr. 2014,

Knowles E., The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 2006. 29 Apr. 2014,

Słownik Google Translate,

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia Copyright 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press.




How to Cite

Freedom of expression and the lyrics of American beatniks. Obscenity and the limits of freedom?. (2017). Miscellanea Historico-Iuridica, 15(1), 235-246.