Other literary forms
James Hanley was one of the most prolific of twentieth century writers. Apart from twenty-six novels and many volumes of short stories, he wrote a considerable number of plays for stage, radio, and television. Say Nothing (pr. 1961, broadcast) is a successfully produced play based on his novel by the same name. Plays One (1968) includes his famous play “The Inner Journey,” which was staged at Lincoln Center, New York, to excellent critical reviews.
Hanley’s Broken Water: An Autobiographical Excursion (1937) provides insights into his early life at sea and his determined efforts to become a writer. Grey Children: A Study in Humbug and Misery (1931), is a compassionate study of unemployment among miners in South Wales. John Cowper Powys: A Man in the Corner (1969) is a biographical and critical study of the English novelist whose A Glastonbury Romance (1932) was Hanley’s favorite novel. In Herman Melville: A Man in the Customs House (1971), Hanley’s own love for the sea enables him to present Melville from a refreshing new perspective. Don Quixote Drowned (1953) is a collection of essays, personal and literary. In one of these essays, Hanley includes a passage that describes himself as a “chunky realist and flounderer in off-Dreiserian prose, naïve and touchy about style.” The volume also provides valuable information about some of the sources for Hanley’s novels.