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A Sense of Wonder
Samuel R. Delany, Race, Identity, and Difference
Jeffrey Allen Tucker

2004 • 360 pp. 6 illus. 6 x 9"
Science Fiction / African-American Studies / Gay Studies

$26.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6689-8

In-depth study places a major American writer in the African-American tradition.

Samuel R. Delany is one of today’s most interesting writers. African-American and gay, Delany crosses boundaries—generic (science fiction, memoir, theory, pornography) and academic (literary studies, cultural studies, African-American studies, gay and lesbian studies). Critics both black and white have read Delany as a writer who downplays his racial identity in order to aspire to universal values. In contrast, A Sense of Wonder shows how Delany’s works participate in African-American cultural traditions.

The book begins with an analysis of Delany’s Dhalgren, using the novel’s links to black cultural traditions as the key to unlocking its puzzling content. Jeffrey Allen Tucker’s reading of the four-volume Return to Nevérÿon series places Delany’s explorations of semiotics in dialogue with Frederick Douglass’s 1845 Narrative and social histories on slavery in America. From there, Tucker moves to Delany’s groundbreaking autobiography, The Motion of Light in Water, his experimental novella Atlantis: Model, 1925, and to his pornographic novel, The Mad Man. Tucker’s aim is to advance a reading of identity that acknowledges its multiplicity and permeability without emptying it of socio-political efficacy and meaning.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“This admirable, often stunning, book presents Delany as the ideal postmodern intellectual and locates his work within the traditions of African-American thought and culture without ever losing touch with the excitement his work engenders.” —James Sallis, editor of Ash of Stars

“It is no overstatement to say that Jeff Tucker has produced one of the most necessary volumes of critical scholarship to emerge within literary studies in a long time. ... A Sense of Wonder will be prove invaluable to anyone interested in contemporary racial and sexual politics, and in the extent to which their complexity can be simultaneously plumbed and intensified by literary work that takes them seriously.”Phillip Brian Harper, Director of the American Studies Program, New York University

JEFFREY ALLEN TUCKER is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Rochester.

Tue, 15 May 2018 12:58:26 -0500