|Preceded by||Drift (1930)|
|Followed by||Ebb and Flood (1932)|
Boy, James Hanley's second novel, first published in 1931 by Boriswood, is a grim story of the brief life and early death of a thirteen year old stowaway from Liverpool. After several editions had been published in 1931 and 1932, a cheap edition, published in 1934, was prosecuted for obscene libel and the publisher heavily fined.
Boy, James Hanley's second novel, his "first novel of the sea",was first published by Boriswood as a limited edition of 145 and "a public edition which, of regretful necessity, has been somewhat expurgated", in September 1931 (asterisks indicated where "words, phrases and sentences [were] omitted"). There were several subsequent editions in Britain and America. Hanley had originally intended to include Boy in the collection of stories and novellas, Men in Darkness: Five Stories, which was published in September 1931, at the same time as Boy.
Boy is the grim story of an intelligent thirteen-year-old boy, Fearon, from Liverpool who is forced to leave school by his parents so as to help support the family, by working "on the docks as a boiler-scaler".Hating this job and after being beaten by his father, Fearon stows away on a ship. When he is discovered, as the ship is shorthanded, he is signed-on to the crew. Fearon's suffering continues on board where he is sexually assaulted. When the ship docks in Alexandria, Egypt, Fearon has his first sexual encounter with a woman, in a brothel, where he contracts syphilis. On the return voyage this disease rapidly develops. The novel concludes with the captain smothering Fearon to put him out of his misery and his body given to the sea. Novelist Hugh Walpole, in a review, described Boy as "A novel that is so unpleasant and ugly, both in narration and in incident, that I wonder the printers did not go on strike while printing it". T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), however, had a very different opinion, and, in a letter to Hanley in 1931, commented "Your character drawing is superb, here and in Boy and in The Last Voyage, and Drift ... You can draw characters as and when you please, with an almost blistering vividness".
Then, when it was reprinted in 1934, in a cheap (second) edition with a "scantily dressed" belly dancer on its cover, Boy was prosecuted for obscenity. The court case followed a complaint to the police by someone who had borrowed the novel from The National Library, in Bury, near Manchester, Lancashire: "The prosecution suggested that the cover of the book and extracts from reviews just inside were most suggestive, and that the purpose was to pollute young people's minds".Boriswood "were advised that, owing to the book's reference to 'intimacy between members of the male sex', any defence against prosecution was futile'". In March 1935 Boriswood pleaded guilty of "uttering and publishing an obscene libel" and paid a substantial fine.
Subsequently Boy was republished, by the Obelisk Press in Paris, in 1936, 1938 and 1946.Jack Kahane was a noted publisher of banned books in English, including Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer and Lady Chatterley's Lover . However, it appears that Hanley did not agree to the republishing in Paris, and that only Boriswood received royalties. Furthermore, according to Hanley's son Liam, his father "firmly rejected" any "overtures from publishers to reissue Boy during his lifetime.
The novel was, however, reprinted after Hanley's death, in the 1990s by André Deutsch and Penguin Books, with an introduction by Anthony Burgess and more recently in 2007 by Oneworld Classics. Also a dramatised version of Boy was broadcast on BBC Radio 3's "Sunday Play" on March 16, 1996.
The New York Times, in Hanley's "Obituary", described Boy as "Mr. Hanley's partly autobiographical novel".However, Hanley did not run away to sea when he was thirteen but worked as a clerk for four years, before signing on as an ordinary seaman on the SS Nitonian, when he was seventeen. According to Hanley's son Liam, his father laughed at the suggestion that Boy was autobiographical. Hanley refers to Boy, though not naming it, in "a short reminiscence entitled 'Oddfish', " in his collection of essays and sketches Don Quixote Drowned (1953). In this essay Hanley describes "how a young seaman overhears a conversation on the bridge of a ship, from which emerges ... the central figure" of the novel.
This article contains information about the literary events and publications of 1929.
John Cleland was an English novelist best known for his fictional Fanny Hill: or, the Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, whose eroticism led to his arrest. James Boswell called him "a sly, old malcontent".
Erotic literature comprises fictional and factual stories and accounts of eros intended to arouse similar feelings in readers. This contrasts erotica, which focuses more specifically on sexual feelings. Other common elements are satire and social criticism. Much erotic literature features erotic art, illustrating the text.
Le Ventre de Paris[lə vɑ̃tʁ də paʁi] (1873) is the third novel in Émile Zola's twenty-volume series Les Rougon-Macquart. It is set in and around Les Halles, the enormous, busy central market of 19th-century Paris. Les Halles, rebuilt in cast iron and glass during the Second Empire was a landmark of modernity in the city, the wholesale and retail center of a thriving food industry. Le Ventre de Paris is Zola's first novel entirely on the working class.
Neil John Pearson is a British actor, known for his work on television. He was nominated for the 1994 BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor for Between the Lines (1992–1994). His other television roles include Drop the Dead Donkey (1990–1998), All the Small Things (2009), Waterloo Road (2014–2015), and In the Club (2014–2016). His film appearances include all three of the Bridget Jones films. He is also an antiquarian book dealer who specialises in the expatriate literary movement of Paris between the World Wars.
James (Joseph) Hanley was a British novelist, short story writer, and playwright from Kirkdale, Liverpool, Lancashire, of Irish descent. Hanley came from a seafaring family and spent two years at sea himself, during World War I. He published his first novel Drift in 1930. In the 1930s and 1940s his novels and short stories focussed on seamen and their families, and included Boy (1931), the subject of an obscenity trial. After World War II there was less emphasis on the sea in his works. While frequently praised by critics, Hanley's novels did not sell well. In the late 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s he wrote plays, mainly for the BBC, for radio and then for television, and also for the theatre. He returned to the novel in the 1970s. His last novel, A Kingdom, was published in 1978, when he was eighty. His brother Gerald was also a novelist.
Maurice Girodias was a French publisher who founded the Olympia Press, specialising in risqué books, censored in Britain and America, that were permitted in France in English-language versions only. It evolved from his father’s Obelisk Press, famous for publishing Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer. Girodias published Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, J. P. Donleavy’s The Ginger Man, and works by Samuel Beckett, William S. Burroughs, John Glassco and Christopher Logue.
Jack Kahane was a writer and publisher who founded the Obelisk Press in Paris in 1929.
Obelisk Press was an English-language press based in Paris, founded by British publisher Jack Kahane in 1929.
William Hanley was an American playwright, novelist, and scriptwriter, born in Lorain, Ohio. Hanley wrote plays for the theatre, radio and television and published three novels in the 1970s. He was related to the British writers James and Gerald Hanley, and the actress Ellen Hanley was his sister.
United States v. One Book Called Ulysses, 5 F. Supp. 182, is a decision by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in a case dealing with freedom of expression. At issue was whether James Joyce's 1922 novel Ulysses was obscene. In deciding it was not, Judge John M. Woolsey opened the door to importation and publication of serious works of literature that used coarse language or involved sexual subjects.
Ellen Hanley was a musical theater performer best known for playing Fiorello H. LaGuardia's first wife in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Fiorello!. She was related to the British writers James and Gerald Hanley, and the playwright, novelist, and scriptwriter William Hanley was her brother.
Boriswood Limited was a small London publishing house which was active from 1931 until 1938. The directors, at various times, were Cecil J Greenwood, Kenneth W Marshall, John Morris and the New Zealander Terence T Bond. It also incorporated another imprint Cranley & Day. In its short existence Boriswood published at least 68 titles, in fine limited and trade editions, mainly of new poetry and fiction.
My Life and Loves is the autobiography of the Ireland-born, naturalized-American writer and editor Frank Harris (1856–1931). As published privately by Harris between 1922 and 1927, and by Jack Kahane's Obelisk Press in 1931, the work consisted of four volumes, illustrated with many drawings and photographs of nude women. The book gives a graphic account of Harris's sexual adventures and relates gossip about the sexual activities of celebrities of his day.
Charles Beadle was a novelist and pulp fiction writer, best known for his adventure stories in American pulp magazines, and for his novels of the bohemian life in Paris.
Nautical fiction, frequently also naval fiction, sea fiction, naval adventure fiction or maritime fiction, is a genre of literature with a setting on or near the sea, that focuses on the human relationship to the sea and sea voyages and highlights nautical culture in these environments. The settings of nautical fiction vary greatly, including merchant ships, liners, naval ships, fishing vessels, life boats, etc., along with sea ports and fishing villages. When describing nautical fiction, scholars most frequently refer to novels, novellas, and short stories, sometimes under the name of sea novels or sea stories. These works are sometimes adapted for the theatre, film and television.
The Furys Chronicle is a sequence of five novels, published between 1935 and 1958, by James Hanley (1897–1985). The main setting is the fictional, northern, English town of Gelton, which is based on Liverpool, where Hanley was born, and involves an Irish Catholic family of seafarers, similar to Hanley's own. The action takes place between 1911 and 1927. The first novel in the series, The Furys, was Hanley's sixth novel.
Norah Margaret Ruth Cordner James was a prolific English novelist whose first book Sleeveless Errand (1929) was ruled obscene at the Bow Street Police Court.
Franklin Thomas Grant Richards was a British publisher and writer. After creating his own publishing firm at the age of just 24 years old, he launched The World's Classics series and published writers such as George Bernard Shaw, A. E. Housman, Samuel Butler and James Joyce. He made "a significant impact on the publishing business of the early twentieth century".
Gladys Sheila Donisthorpe, born Gladys Millie Leon, was a London-born novelist and playwright.