Delany, Samuel R., 1942-

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Samuel R. Delany, born April 1, 1942, in New York City, is an author, editor, professor, and literary critic, noted for his work in the science fiction genre. Delaney's writing is often characterized by his interest in gender, sexual orientation, race, and social issues. Delany identified as a gay black male, but for twelve years, he remained married to the poet Marilyn Hacker, whom he met in high school. During their marriage, the couple raised a daughter and co-edited a short-lived magazine Quark, which had a print-run of four issues in the early 1970s. Delany has also edited Nebula Winners Thirteen, and many of his shorter pieces have circulated through numerous science fiction periodicals, anthologies, and collections. Delany’s literary career began at the age of 20 with the publication of his first novel, The Jewels of Aptor . Shortly thereafter, he published several more successful novels of science fiction that gained both literary acclaim as well as praise from writers of the sci-fi genre. Delany's science fiction, widely regarded as literary, carried many themes that raised questions of identity for individuals within the conventions of society. Specific lines of inquiry dealt with social and sexual politics as many of Delany’s characters were seen as representing women’s rights, gay rights, and racial equality. Established as an innovator in science fiction of the 1960s, Delany’s work has appeared in various forms of print media, and his talent and interests moved him beyond the boundaries of genre where he published non-fiction, literary criticism, film and book reviews, comic books, and transgressive literature. Delany’s works of non-fiction explored a variety of subjects related to social causes and conditions. In his 1979 memoir, Heavenly Breakfast, he related his own particular "summer of love" in 1967 while living at the time in a New York City commune. His award-winning 1988 memoir, The Motion of Light in Water, was based on the author’s reflections as a gay science fiction writer. Times Square Red, Times Square Blue (1999) described New York City's pornographic movie theaters and the eventual displacement of this sexual landscape in Time’s Square. Delany’s autobiographical work also took the form of a comic book in Bread & Wine: An Erotic Tale of New York . Delany’s writing not only addressed social themes but raised questions about language, which is to say, how language "connects and constrains" the thought patterns of individuals within society, how myth and archetype influence reality, and how reality shifts depending on perceived experience through language. The depth and complexity of Delany's novels have attracted numerous scholars who have written book-length studies about Delany and his work. Delany's critical studies have peered into the language of science fiction through the lens of post-structuralism and semiotics, which has resulted in his work being well-received by the literary world. Since the late 1990s, Delany has taught at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, SUNY Buffalo, and Temple University.
Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Samuel R. Delany collection, 1967–1999 University of Delaware Library - Special Collections
referencedIn Abrams, Sam,. Sam Abrams papers 1980-1994 RIT Library, Wallace Library
creatorOf FitzGerald, Russell. Russell FitzGerald papers, circa 1952-1993. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Richard D. Erlich Collection of Papers about Science Fiction and Satire, 1974-1988 North Carolina State University. Special Collections Research Center
referencedIn Joseph Beam papers, 1967-1990 The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.
creatorOf Samuel R. Delany, Jr. (“Chip”) Correspondence Fales Library & Special Collections
creatorOf Beam, Joseph. Joseph Beam papers, 1967-1990. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Piers Anthony Papers, 1951-1978 Syracuse University. Library. Special Collections Research Center
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Abrams, Sam, person
associatedWith Anthony, Piers Archives. person
correspondedWith Bamberger, Bill person
correspondedWith Bamberger, Bill, correspondent. person
associatedWith Beam, Joseph. person
associatedWith Erlich, Richard D. person
associatedWith FitzGerald, Russell. person
correspondedWith Russ, Joanna, 1937-2011 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
New York City NY US
Harlem NY US
Authors, American--20th century
Fiction--United States--History--20th century--Sources
Science fiction, American--Authorship
African American authors--Archives
Gay men--United States--History--20th century--Sources
Science fiction--History and criticism
Science fiction--Authorship
African American authors
College professors


Birth 1942-04-01






Ark ID: w6546sfc

SNAC ID: 15422220