Overview

"Reading is a many-layered process — like writing," observes Samuel R. Delany, a Nebula and Hugo award-winning author and a major commentator on American literature and culture. In this collection of six extended essays, Delany challenges what he calls "the hard-edged boundaries of meaning" by going beyond the customary limits of the genre in which he's writing. By radically reworking the essay form, Delany can explore and express the many layers of his thinking about the nature of art, the workings of language, and the injustices and ironies of

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Longer Views: Extended Essays

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Overview

"Reading is a many-layered process — like writing," observes Samuel R. Delany, a Nebula and Hugo award-winning author and a major commentator on American literature and culture. In this collection of six extended essays, Delany challenges what he calls "the hard-edged boundaries of meaning" by going beyond the customary limits of the genre in which he's writing. By radically reworking the essay form, Delany can explore and express the many layers of his thinking about the nature of art, the workings of language, and the injustices and ironies of social, political, and sexual marginalization. Thus Delany connects, in sometimes unexpected ways, topics as diverse as the origins of modern theater, the context of lesbian and gay scholarship, the theories of cyborgs, how metaphors mean, and the narrative structures in the Star Wars trilogy.

"Over the course of his career," Kenneth James writes in his extensive introduction, "Delany has again and again thrown into question the world-models that all too many of us unknowingly live by." Indeed, Delany challenges an impressive list of world-models here, including High and Low Art, sanity and madness, mathematical logic and the mechanics of mythmaking, the distribution of wealth in our society, and the limitations of our sexual vocabulary. Also included are two essays that illustrate Delany's unique chrestomathic technique, the grouping of textual fragments whose associative interrelationships a reader must actively trace to read them as a resonant argument. Whether writing about Wagner or Hart Crane, Foucault or Robert Mapplethorpe, Delany combines a fierce and often piercing vision with a powerful honesty that beckons us to share in the perspective of these Longer Views.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Longer Views is an intellectually adventurous book . . . Every page of every essay here rewards a second reading, and a third. Delany has a fearsomely stocked intellect, and a wider range of experience than most writers can even imagine . . . He is brilliant, driven, prolific." —The Nation

"Texts that inspire his respect are treated with what might be called skeptical deference . . . in Longer Views, [Delany] proves he can . . . deconstruct a text from nose to tail until there is nothing left but the oink."— New York Times Book Review

"Rare personal frankness and stunning erudition . . . Recommended for readers who enjoy the challenge of being led into remote regions of a gifted mind."—Library Journal

"One of science fiction's grand masters . . . Delany's elegant command of language and deep insight into other authors' works are delightful to behold."—Booklist

Library Journal
To this unusual cluster of five long, eccentric essays, science fiction writer and comparative literature professor Delany brings a rare personal frankness and stunning erudition. Intellectual probings into topics as varied as Richard Wagner and poet Hart Crane's masterwork The Bridge, these sometimes turgid pieces pivot on questions of linguistics, science fiction, and homosexuality. For instance, in "Aversion/Perversion/Diversion," an address given at Rutgers's Lesbian and Gay Conference on Gay Studies, Delany speaks not only of his own early homosexual experience but of how "the sexual experience is still outside the language." Recommended for readers who enjoy the challenge of being led into remote regions of a gifted mind.Charles C. Nash, Cottey Coll. Nevada, Mo.
Carl Hays
A university press rather than a commercial publisher gives us this collection of essays by one of science fiction's grand masters, perhaps because these long critical pieces seem addressed to an audience smaller than that for Delany's fiction. A probing study of the iconoclastic Antonin Artaud that observes the French theatrical director's similarity to Richard Wagner in his turbulent style of dramatic presentation opens the volume, and a revealing collection of notes from Delany's mid-1970s journals that afford a peek at his creative development closes it. In between are a lecture on gay identity, a series of loosely connected literary observations, and a long study of Hart Crane's modernist epic poem, "The Bridge". Delany's elegant command of language and deep insight into other authors' works are delightful to behold. Die-hard Delany fans and other sf writers will want to read these pieces, and literary scholars, especially of Crane, really ought to read them.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819571946
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Samuel R. Delany's 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), and Shorter Views: Queer Thoughts & the Politics of the Paraliterary. The press has also reissued his classic science fiction and fantasy novels Dhalgren (1996), Trouble on Triton (1996, originally published as Triton), The Einstein Intersection (1998) and the four-volume Return to Nevèrÿon series.
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Table of Contents

Preface
Extensions: An Introduction to the Longer Views of Samuel R. Delany by Ken James
Wagner/Artaud: A Play of 19th and 20th Century Critical Fictions
Reading at Work, and Other Activities Frowned on by Authority: A reading of Donna Haraway’s “Manifesto for Cyborgs: Science, Technology, and Socialist Feminism in the 1980’s”
Aversion/Perversion/Diversion
Shadow and Ash
Atlantis Rose… Some Notes on Hart Crane
Appendix: Shadows
Index
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