Influences on Delany’s Dhalgren

The largest influences on the book that I am aware of, at any rate, were Michel Foucault (primarily Madness and Civilization, secondarily The Order of Things), John Ashbery’s poems The Instruction Manual (and the Richard Howard essay on Ashbery in Alone with America) and These Lacustrine Cities, G. Spencer Brown’s Laws f Form (given me as a birthday present, months after its publication, by a young Harvard student when I lived in San Francisco), Frank Kermonde’s Sense of an Ending (bits and pieces of Dhalgren were worked on in Kermonde’s old office at Wesleyan University’s Center for Humanities, where I was a guest for a couple of weeks in 1971) and, of course, the works of Jack Spicer, whose memory and whose poems haunted San Francisco the years I lived there, where much of Dhalgren’s first draft was written, as Cavafy’s hovered over Durrell’s Alexandria.

 

Taken from “Of Sex, Objects, Signs, Systems, Sales, SF”, Samuel Delany, 1975. This essay was to appear in S-Forum, a zine published by the University of New Hampshire’s Science Fiction society, Tesseract. The relevant issue of S-Forum never appears and “Sex, Objects…” eventually appears in the Australian Science Fiction Review and subsequently in the collection Straights of Messina.

The classic Bantam cover of Samuel Delany's seminal Dhalgren.

The classic Bantam cover of Samuel Delany’s seminal Dhalgren.

Advertisements

About seanv2

Scholar, gentleman, jock. I run the website Milo and the Calf. There you will find the Boston Qualifier Questionnaire where runners share their stories of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. You'll also find my thoughts on endurance sports, ancient history, Judaism, and hundreds of book reviews.
This entry was posted in Books and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s