Shopping Cart Link

Wesleyan University Press

Sign up for our newsletter

Bookmark and Share
Cart link
Hardcover add to cart

For Educators

Add exam ebook
Cover image Click for larger image

In Search of Silence
The Journals of Samuel R. Delany, Volume I, 1957-1969
Samuel R. Delany; Kenneth R. James, ed.

The Journals of Samuel R. Delany

2017 • 720 pp. 17 illus. 6 1/8 x 9 1/4"
Literary Collections / Gay Studies / African-American Studies

$40.00 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-7089-5

$31.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7693-4

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

The simple fact is that I think Delany is one of the most important American writers, one who ought to be spoken of alongside any great American writer of the... [continued in Reviews below]”—Matthew Cheney, The Mumpsimus

The private journals of renowned novelist and critic Samuel R. Delany

For fifty years Samuel Delany has cultivated a special relationship with language in works of fiction, criticism, and memoir that have garnered critical praise and legions of fans. The present volume – the first in a series – reveals a new dimension of his genius. In Search of Silence presents over a decade’s worth of Delany’s private journals, commencing in 1957 when he was still a student at the Bronx High School of Science, and ending in 1969 when he was living in San Francisco and on the verge of reconceiving the novel that would become Dhalgren.

In these pages, Delany muses on the writing of the stories that will establish him as a science fiction wunderkind, the early years of his marriage to the poet Marilyn Hacker, performances as a singer-songwriter during the heyday of the American folk revival, travels in Europe, experiences in a New York City commune, and much more – and crosses paths with artists working in many genres, including poets such as Robert Frost, W. H. Auden, and Marie Ponsot, and science fiction writers such as Arthur C. Clarke, Michael Moorcock, Roger Zelazny, and Joanna Russ. Delany scholar Kenneth R. James presents the journal entries alongside generous samplings of story outlines, poetry, fragments of novels and essays that have never seen publication, and more; James also provides biographical synopses and an extensive set of endnotes to supply contextual information and connect journal material to Delany’s published work.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“The simple fact is that I think Delany is one of the most important American writers, one who ought to be spoken of alongside any great American writer of the second half of the twentieth century … the recent publication of volume one of Delany’s Selected Journals in a gorgeous edition from Wesleyan University Press (brilliantly edited by Kenneth James) is monumental.”—Matthew Cheney, The Mumpsimus

“The first hardcover volume of Samuel Delany's journals, out now from Wesleyan University Press (covering the 1950s and 1960s) is both magisterial and inspirational—and boy, do we need the inspiration now. I am in awe of the work and scholarship involved. In collaboration with his remarkable subject, editor Kenneth James is doing an invaluable service to our field.”—Andy Duncan, Nebula and World Fantasy Award-winning author of The Night Cache

“In Delany, each work is in dialogue with the next, the fiction illuminating the nonfiction, which in turn re-illuminates the fiction. Delany’s notebooks add a new voice to this dialogue.”—Kenneth R. James, Tor

“Traversing Delany’s youth, we see a precocious mind grappling with his own talent … he lives on two registers, participating in the world and also observing it, living simultaneously as a kid in NYC and, ‘a writer of genius’.”—Robert Minto, New Republic

“Delany himself, having become something of an icon in the urban literary universe.”—Alan Contreras, The Gay & Lesbian Review

“A game changer for Delany studies … reveal[s] how one of the most brilliant American science fiction writers of the time (and later a noted literary theorist) came of age.”—M.J. Emery, Choice

“Mesmerizing . . .  a true portrait of an artist as a young Black man . . . already visible in these pages are the wit, sensitivity, penetration, playfulness and the incandescent intelligence that will characterize Delany and his extraordinary work.” —Junot Díaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

“This is a tremendously significant and vital addition to the oeuvre of Samuel Delany; it clarifies questions not only of the writer’s process, but also his development—to see, in his juvenilia, traces that take full form in his novels—is literally breathtaking.” —Matthew Cheney, author of Blood: Stories


Choice Outstanding Academic Title (2017) Commendation
Short-Listed for the Locus Award, Nonfiction (2018)

Author Photo

SAMUEL R. DELANY is an award-winning author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, most recently Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders. He lives in New York City. KENNETH R. JAMES is a noted Delany scholar and author of the introductions to Longer Views and 1984. He lives in Cushing, Maine.

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 12:28:50 -0500