21 March 2007

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...