Sterling Library SLV/59
Boy was ultimately prosecuted for obscenity on the basis that it contained references to ‘intimacy between members of the male sex,’ but sexuality here is not intimate but brutish, violent and destructive, where the sex of those involved is of little importance. Its plot sees a young adolescent flee an abusive workplace to work on a ship, where he is raped by a member of the crew, and, on developing an unspecified infection, is thrown overboard to drown. It was only prosecuted when printed cheaply, the expensive limited edition seen here having sold without censure for three years. Its claim to be ‘entirely unexpurgated’ is belied by Hanley’s original manuscript, which contains a long account of sexual violence which he himself removed before having the novel typed for a publisher’s consideration, and has still never been published.