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The American Shore

Meditations on a Tale of Science Fiction by Thomas M. Disch—“Angouleme”

Samuel R. Delany

Publication Year: 2014

The American Shore: Meditations on a Tale of Science Fiction by Thomas M. Disch—“Angouleme” was first published in 1978 to the intense interest of science fiction readers and the growing community of SF scholars. Recalling Nabokov’s commentary on Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin, Roland Barthes’ commentary on Balzac’s Sarazine, and Grabinier’s reading of The Heart of Hamlet, this book-length essay helped prove the genre worthy of serious investigation. The American Shore is the third in a series of influential critical works by Samuel R. Delany, beginning with The Jewel-Hinged Jaw and Starboard Wine, first published in the late seventies and reissued over the last five years by Wesleyan University Press, which helped win Delany a Pilgrim Award for Science Fiction Scholarship from the Science Fiction Research Association of America. This edition includes the author’s corrected text as well as a new introduction by Delany scholar Matthew Cheney.

Published by: Wesleyan University Press


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Title Page, Series Page, Copyright Page, Dedication, Quote

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pp. xi-xii

I must thank Brian Stableford, first for his lucid essays on the sociology of science fiction, which have appeared all too infrequently over the past decade, then for his supportive correspondence over the past year; also, had he not given me a chance to read in manuscript his exhaustive...

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The American Shore, An Author’s Introduction

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pp. xiii-xviii

A reader who feels acutely the need for an introduction to the serious reading of science fiction, or for an introduction to those science fiction writers—Russ, Disch, and Zelazny paramount among them—whose work, appearing first in the early Sixties, contoured and codified a canon...

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A Road along the Shore: An Introduction to The American Shore

Matthew Cheney

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pp. xix-xxxviii

The American Shore is likely the most thorough exploration of a single science fiction text yet published. No matter what we end up thinking of its approach and insights, no reader could deny that it is anything less than an impressive intellectual performance. Around Thomas M. Disch’s short story “Angouleme,” Samuel R. Delany wraps pretexts...

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1. The Pretext

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pp. 1-4

Concatenated texts—romans fleuves, interrelated series of novels and stories, stories and plays—appear from time to time in mundane fiction. Sometimes the connecting link is so tenuous as to constitute the merest ornamentation, a grace note to the text (as when the imprisoned...

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2. The Refused Text

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pp. 5-24

We shall flex the text with a number of carets, marginally cardinalled for later reference. At the base of the print-line they should not be obtrusive; the average reader seldom looks at more than the top half of the print—it contains quite enough information to read with. The only ambiguities...

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3. The Context

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pp. 25-34

The existence of a series of stories, with its panoply of discontinuities-embedded- in-the-continuous (lacunae in the fictive lives of recognizably continuous characters, settings, situations, as well as the implied gaps between various times of writing, the observable distances between places of...

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4. The Diffused Text

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pp. 35-184

In the structural consideration of a given work what must be structured is, of course, the consideration—the work under consideration presumably having its structure and whatever potential to convey it. We only hope the structure of our endeavor will provide an extensive...

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5. Exotexts

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pp. 185-208

1. Auctorial Interfaces: A Biographical Note. Currently on my shelves are eight books written (two pseudonymously), and one edited (in collaboration with author Charles Naylor), by Thomas M. Disch. This exhausts none of the categories they posit: there exist more story...


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pp. 209-216

About the Author

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pp. 217-218

E-ISBN-13: 9780819574206
E-ISBN-10: 0819574201
Print-ISBN-13: 9780819567185

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2014

OCLC Number: 881571133
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The American Shore

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Subject Headings

  • Science fiction -- History and criticism -- Theory, etc.
  • Disch, Thomas M. Angouleme.
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