This article largely combines two previous articles by Harris - 'From the Introduction to the 1961 Edition of Ern Malley's Poems 'and 'Forty Four Years on...' - both of which were published in The Poems of Ern Malley (1988).
The criticism tracks the origin and progress of the Ern Malley Hoax beginning with the letters sent to Harris by Malley's sister, 'Ethel Malley', through the media discovery of the deception, the trial on indecency charges and the response to the hoax from the United Kingdom and the USA.
Harris provides a summary of the trial in which he was charged with having published fourteen 'indecent advertisements'. (Seven of the fourteen were from The Darkening Ecliptic; the others included the Peter Cowan short story, 'The Fence'.)
In the final section of the criticism, Harris reflects on the uniqueness of literary and cultural developments in Australia in the years since the first publication of Ern Malley's poems in Angry Penguins no. in 1944 and in particular emphasises the role of Modernism.