Delany Lately: Samuel R. Delany and the Art of Paraliterature: A Special Issue of African American Review

Article excerpt

From the publication of his first novel at the age of nineteen, The Jewels of Aptor (1962), Samuel R. Delany has been one of the most admired and simultaneously marginalized writers in American literature. While he was almost immediately recognized as a prodigy and showered +with awards in the world of science fiction, it has taken much longer for Delany to be recognized as a figure of seminal importance in the worlds of modern American fiction and African American and queer literary and cultural studies. This special issue of African American Review seeks to address this deficit by contributing to the growing recognition of Delany's impact on American literary modernity by offering an intersectional and interdisciplinary consideration of the range of his achievements as a fiction writer, theorist, and cultural critic.

One of the most interesting and significant aspects of Delany's career has been his evolution after the 1970s from midlist science fiction writer to touchstone figure for a new generation of queer and African American writers and intellectuals. The primary goal of this issue will be to chart the ways in which Delany's transgressive visions have been received as positive explorations of difference, primarily by the different themselves, over the course of his more-than-fifty-year writing career.

These essays will consider work primarily from the four areas in which Delany's writing has and is continuing to have a significant impact: science fiction/fantasy; autobiography/memoir; pornography; and, to a rapidly growing extent, queer and critical theory. …