Samuel R. Delany collection of manuscripts and correspondence

Biographical and Historical Notes

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. Delany's writing is often characterized by his interest in gender, sexual orientation, race, and social issues.

Delany identifies 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 also edited Nebula Winners Thirteen (1980), 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 (1962). 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 fiction, widely praised for its literary value, carries many themes that have raised questions regarding individual identity within the conventions of society. Specifically, Delany has drawn attention to social and sexual politics, as many of his characters are seen to allude to issues of women’s rights, gay rights, and racial equality. Delany's work established him as an innovator in science fiction during the 1960s, and his talent and interests have moved him beyond the boundaries of genre where he has published non-fiction, literary criticism, film and book reviews, comic books, and transgressive literature. His works of non-fiction have explored a variety of subjects related to social causes and conditions. In his 1979 memoir, Heavenly Breakfast, he relates his own story of a "summer of love," recalling his experiences living in a New York City commune during the winter/spring of 1967-1968. The memoir was reprinted in 1996 by Bamberger Books as Heavenly Breakfast: An Essay on the Winter of Love. Also printed by Bamberger Books, Delany's 2004 novella, Phallos, fuses exploration of sexuality with experimentation in literary form.


"Samuel R. Delany." Contemporary Authors Online (reproduced in Literature Resource Center). (accessed April 2010).

Scope and Content Note

The Samuel R. Delany collection of manuscripts and correspondence comprises the Bamberger Books publisher's archive of materials pertaining to the 1996 reprinting of Delany's 1979 memoir, Heavenly Breakfast, and the 2004 publication of Delany's novella, Phallos. Materials include printed e-mail correspondence from Delany to publisher William Bamberger, undated corrections pages, a book jacket proof, mailing envelopes, and author-corrected master page proofs for both works.

The material pertaining to Heavenly Breakfast consists of two sets of revised page proofs. The first set is dated March 2, 1996, and is labeled "Author's Set" in red ink. Most pages of the text bear minor ink revisions written in Delany's hand. The other set dates from June 1996, as indicated by the mailing envelope addressed from Delany to Bamberger. This second set incorporates the revisions marked in the "Author's Set" and contains Delany's new handwritten revisions. These revisions are also mostly minor punctuation and formatting changes, but some pages do include revisions to word choice and new chapter breaks.

The material pertaining to Phallos also includes page proofs as well as materials relating to its publication. The page proofs were sent to Bamberger on March 8, 2004, as indicated by the date on the included mailing envelope addressed in Delany's hand. The proofs contain Delany's handwritten revisions, which include both minor as well as more significant changes. Delany signed his letters and e-mails "Chip" and addressed them to "Bill." Several of the letters are typed and laser-printed, while the rest are printed e-mails. There is also a color print-out of the publisher's proof of the book's dust jacket.