[Obelisk Press] HANLEY, James


Paris: Obelisk Press, 1936

8vo, pp. 269. Original illustrated stiff paper wrappers with foldover flaps. Leading and lower edges uncut. Some edgewear to (oversize) wrappers, with some closed tears at join with spine. Original price on front flap [50 francs] cancelled but visible, price of books listed on rear flap cancelled, new price [78 00] stamped to rear endpaper. Other small publisher's stamps to foot of same endpaper.

Fourth edition, first Obelisk edition, with the dancing girl design to front panel. Presumed earliest impression, without the wording 'Banned in England May 1935' to front panel usually found on this title.

Boy,Hanley's account of a boy running away to sea, was first published by Boriswood in London in 1931, in both a limited unexpurgated issue, and a trade issue in which the more contentious passages were replaced by asterisks or gaps in the text. A second impression and a US edition followed, both bowdlerised. When a cheap, unexpurgated edition appeared in 1934 a Manchester lending library was prosecuted for stocking it, and Boriswood's directors were charged with aiding and abetting. All parties pleaded guilty on legal advice, and the book was banned. After the trial Jack Kahane of the Paris-based, English-language imprint the Obelisk Press, bought the sheets of the 1934 edition and inserted a new title page. The result was this edition, which is dedicated to Nancy Cunard, at one time Kahane's lover.

This issue, with the lurid dancing girl cover design, is extremely scarce: Hanley's first bibliographer failed to find this edition, and doubted its existence. This is the presumed first state (see above), which is scarcer still.



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