Atlantis: Three Tales

Overview

In these stories, Samuel R. Delany explores the intricate interdependencies of memory, experience, and self. We begin with Atlantis: Model 1924, a short novel that tells of a young African-American's first six months in 1920s New York, and of the sharp contrast between his experiences there and his childhood and adolescence in North Carolina. In a fictive meditation on the artist's childhood, "Erik, Gwen, and D.H. Lawrence's Esthetic of Unrectified Feeling" traces the development of a formalist esthetic even as ...
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Atlantis: Three Tales

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Overview

In these stories, Samuel R. Delany explores the intricate interdependencies of memory, experience, and self. We begin with Atlantis: Model 1924, a short novel that tells of a young African-American's first six months in 1920s New York, and of the sharp contrast between his experiences there and his childhood and adolescence in North Carolina. In a fictive meditation on the artist's childhood, "Erik, Gwen, and D.H. Lawrence's Esthetic of Unrectified Feeling" traces the development of a formalist esthetic even as it shows the place of transgression within that very esthetic. "Citre et Trans" tells of a black American writer's sojourn in Greece in the mid-1960s.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Delany, who's best known for his science fiction (Nova, Dhalgren) takes a variety of literary turns in these three novellas that chronicle the experience of the African American writer in the 20th century. The longest story, ``Atlantis: Model 1924,'' focuses on the impressions of a 17-year-old African American who travels from North Carolina to New York to join his family. Using a mysterious unnamed character who vanishes from a rowboat beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, Delany draws a variety of parallels between the mythic aspects of the Big Apple and the legendary city under the sea, framing the young man's perspective against the achievements of such early 20th-century black luminaries as Paul Robeson, Hart Crane and Jean Toomer. In ``Erik, Gwen, and D.H. Lawrence's Esthetic of Unrectified Feeling,'' Delany paints a portrait of the black artist as a young man, musing on the use of music lessons, art classes and New York private schools to help instill and sustain the instinct to create. ``Citre et Trans'' leans more heavily on plot and narrative and deals, albeit with more style and seriousness, with some of the themes of the author's recently published Hogg. Here, a bisexual African American writer, living in Greece in the mid-1960s, must confront the emotional effects of rape after his roommate picks up a pair of Greek sailors. Balanced and full of intricate layers of prose, these novellas present a potpourri of literary references, detailed flashbacks and experimental page layouts. Delany seamlessly meshes graceful prose, cultural and philosophical depth and a knowledge of different forms and voices into a truly heady, literate blend. (May)
Library Journal
Although Delany is best known for science fiction (e.g., Flight from Neveryon, Classic Returns, LJ 3/15/94), the tales in this collection evoke the past. In "Atlantis: Model 1924" a young African American travels from North Carolina to New York City and revels in the richness of his new environment. "Erik, Gwen, and D.H. Lawrence's Esthetic of Unrectified Feeling" portrays a boy's education at the hands of a formalist art teacher and a farm hand who elevates profanity to an art form. "Citre et Trans" examines the lingering effects of homosexuual rape. Because of race, sexual orientation, keen aesthetic sensibility, or all of the above, Delany's protagonists are unique. Consequently, his stories focus less on external action than on changes in a character's consciousness. All three tales are elegantly wrought, but Delany's frequent experiments with split text in "Atlantis: Model 1924" frequently distract rather than enrich the narrative. For large collections.-Albert E. Wilhelm, Tennessee Technological Univ., Cookeville
From the Publisher
"[Delany] works real magic in these pages . . . Portions of "Atlantis: Model 1924" linger, even loom, in my memory, and I suspect they will long endure there." —Hungry Mind Review

"Delany sketches sympathetic portraits of young black men aswim in the dense, sweet hives of American cities."— New York Times Book Review

"The language is lush and striking. Deftly, Delany uses stream of consciousness, Surrealism, and typographic innovation to juxtapose fact, memory, and time."—Boston Phoenix Literary Supplement

"Delany, who's best known for his science fiction, takes a variety of literary turns in these three novellas that chronicle the experience of the African American writer in the 20th century . . . Balanced and full of intricate layers of prose, these novellas present a potpourri literary references, detailed flashbacks and experimental page layouts. Delany seamlessly meshes graceful prose, cultural and philosophical depth and a knowledge of different forms and voices into a truly heady, literate blend."—Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819563125
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1995
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,472,552
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.05 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

SAMUEL R. DELANY many prizes include the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, and the William Whitehead Memorial Award for a lifetime's contribution to gay and lesbian literature. Wesleyan has published both his fiction and nonfiction, including Atlantis: three tales (1995), Silent Interviews: On Language, Race, Sex, Science Fiction, and Some Comics (1994), Longer Views: Extended Essays (1996), and Shorter Views: Queer Thoughts & the Politics of the Paraliterary. The press has also reissued his classic science fiction and fantasy novels Dhalgren (1996), The Einstein Intersection (1998) and the four-volume Return to Nevèrÿon series.
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Table of Contents

Atlantis, Model 1924
1. Eric, Gwen, and D.H. Lawrence’s Esthetic of Unrectified Feeling
2. Citre et Trans
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