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In his later years, he ran the erotic publisher Blue Moon Books, although legal troubles left him nearly penniless. He worked on a memoir, revived the Evergreen Green Review online and even started a blog. Upon receiving his honorary National Book Award, Rosset reviewed his long history of defiance and stated that the “principal that no one has the right to tell us what we can and cannot read is one that has always been dear to me.”

Rosset was married four times, including to the artist Joan Mitchell. He had three children, including a son named Beckett.

In 1988, the PEN American Center awarded him with its Publisher Citation for “distinctive and continuous service to international letters, to the freedom and dignity of writers, and to the free transmission of the printed word across the barriers of poverty, ignorance, censorship, and repression.” Last month, he was awarded the Literarian Award for outstanding service to American letters by the National Book Foundation.


AP Drama Writer Mark Kennedy contributed to this report.