Sales Date: 1996-12-02
384 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
A comprehensive expansion of the theoretical writings of one of our most important cultural critics.
"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.
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"
Shadow and Ash
Atlantis Rose… Some Notes on Hart Crane
"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
"In an environment increasingly hostile to intellectual probing, the vitality and versatility of Samuel R. Delany's sustained production are all the more remarkable. One of the major elements in the book's considerable achievement is Delany's taking up discourses and genres ordinarily considered remote from the science fiction in which he's made his distinguished name: music in general, opera, poetry and poetics. In this wonderfully polyglot volume, Delany 'interfaces' his previous oeuvre to these cultural codes, and to critical theory, for which he shows considerable acumen and achievement. A terrific book."~Henry Sussman
""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
""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
""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