The Delany Piles

Yesterday I delivered a rough draft of my master's thesis about Samuel Delany to the professors reading it for comment, and in my excitement at having a draft done I decided to pile most of the books I've been using for research on my couch and take a picture of them before returning some of them to the library and friends I borrowed them from:Together like that they don't feel as immense and encompassing as they did when I had them scattered all around me as I wrote...

As it exists right now, the thesis is about Delany's novels from The Jewels of Aptor through Dhalgren, plus some substantial bits about his early critical essays. I ended up emphasizing the importance of the pornographic novels Equinox and Hogg more than I thought I would when I began, but Equinox seemed to me a pivotal novel separating the pre- and post-Nova books, and Hogg I decided to compare to Dhalgren, because the two books were written almost simultaneously and share some elements; more importantly, I thought, they illustrate a lot about Delany's ideas of reading strategies, because both books exploit and confound the tools readers use to make sense of them.

I expect to have more to say once I've rethought and revised the thesis ... at the moment, I'm just relieved to have one phase of this project complete. Now I can try to catch up with all the emails I owe people and all the other reading I need to do...


  1. Matt: Best of luck with the thesis.

    Jeff Ford

  2. Awesome! So when can everybody who's not one of your professors read it?

  3. Well, one section of it -- about 40% -- is going to be published as part of a project for which I haven't yet signed a contract nor do I know the planned schedule for, so I don't want to say any more, but will say it's pretty darn exciting. The other parts ... well, if I can get them into a shape I actually am satisfied with, I'll probably turn them into articles and begin submitting them places. But I doubt I'll get to that before this summer. Thanks for your interest!

  4. Congrats on writing it, let alone selling it.

    I meant to email you with memories of the week I spent with Chip when he came to Naropa.

    I meant to email you and tell you that my thesis ended up in a volume of the Dictionary of Literary Biography and I was sure yours on Chip could get published somewhere much better than that.

    And I meant to email you to say that I've become management at the bookstore again, so I've been too busy to email you...


    Geoffrey G.


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