First published in 1955, Pasolini's masterpiece caused such public outrage that he was charged with obscenity and the book banned. Set in Rome's poverty-stricken neighbourhoods during the post-war years, it tells the story of a group of adolescents who live hand-to-mouth, their days filled with odd jobs, petty crime and prostitution, their hunger growing as Italy begins to enjoy a period of ecomic growth and unprecedented change.
Pier Paolo Pasolini was born in 1922. He was an Italian film director, poet, writer, and intellectual. Throughout his life he exhibited extraordinary cultural versatility and became a highly controversial figure in the process. While his work remains controversial, since his death in 1975, Pasolini has come to be seen as a visionary thinker and a major figure in italian literature and art. American literary critic Harold Bloom considered Pasolini to be a major 20th-century poet and included his works in his collection of the Western Canon.