Delany, Paul 1937–
Delany, Paul 1937–
PERSONAL: Born July 1, 1937, in London, England; became naturalized citizen of Canada, 1954; son of George F. and Clare (Parfait) Delany; married Sheila Winnick, September 2, 1962 (divorced, 1974); married Elspeth L. McVeigh, June 11, 1981; children: (first marriage) Nicholas, Lev; (second marriage) Katherine. Education: McGill University, B.Comm., 1957; Stanford University, A.M., 1958; University of California, Berkeley, M.A., 1961, Ph.D., 1965.
ADDRESSES: Home—1155 Homer St. #2702, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Office—Department of English, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Dr., Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, V5A 1S6. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Writer and educator. Bank of Canada, Ottawa, Quebec, Canada, assistant economist in the Research Department, 1956; International Labour Office, Geneva, Switzerland, economist, 1958–59; Columbia University, New York, NY, instructor in English language, 1964–66, assistant professor of English, 1966–70; Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, associate professor, 1970–77, professor of English, 1977–2004, university research professor, 1990–91, emeritus professor, 2004–. University of Waterloo, Ontario, visiting professor, 1985–86; Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, England, visiting fellow, 1995–96.
AWARDS, HONORS: Chamberlain fellowship, Columbia University, 1967; Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, 1975–76; Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) fellowships, 1975–76, 1982–83; Killam Society fellowship, 1992–93.
British Autobiography in the Seventeenth Century, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1969.
D.H. Lawrence's Nightmare, Basic Books (New York, NY), 1978.
The Neo-Pagans: Friendship and Love in the Rupert Brooke Circle, Free Press (New York, NY), 1987.
Literature, Money, and the Market: From Trollope to Amis, Palgrave (New York, NY), 2002.
Bill Brandt: A Life, Jonathan Cape (London, England), 2004.
Contributor of articles to periodicals and literary journals, including Chaucer Review, New York Times Book Review, Studies in Short Fiction, and London Review of Books.
(With R.W. Hanning and J. Ford) Sixteenth-Century English Literature: A Selective Anthology, Holt (New York, NY), 1976.
(With George Landow) Hypermedia and Literary Studies, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA), 1991.
(With George Landow) The Digital Word, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA), 1992, published as The Digital Word: Text-Based Computing in the Humanities, 1993.
George Gissing, In the Year of Jubilee, with notes by Jon Paul Henry, J.M. Dent (London, England), 1994.
Vancouver: Representing the Postmodern City, Arsenal Pulp Press (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1994.
WORK IN PROGRESS: The Life of George Gissing.
SIDELIGHTS: Paul Delany received wide acclaim for his book D.H. Lawrence's Nightmare, which examines the author's life during the time that he and his German wife Freda stayed in England after traveling from Italy for a brief visit in 1914 and became trapped there after World War I broke out. The couple was placed under surveillance by British authorities, who suspected them of spying. Lawrence, broke and in ill health, was forced to rely on the charity of friends; the Lawrences lived in a succession of borrowed cottages during their stay, which lasted until 1919. The "nightmare" of Delany's title is a specific reference to a chapter in Lawrence's Kangaroo in which the author details how he had to live with the constant threat of conscription and was forced to undergo three military physical examinations.
It was while he was in England that Lawrence formulated his eccentric political philosophy which, as Stanley Weintraub explained in the New Republic, consisted of a utopian dream "of a future intellectual and agrarian community in Florida or Samoa, where his followers would live by the visionary phallic philosophy of 'the great male and female duality and unity.'" As Lawrence's "mood darkened," John Gross explained in the New York Review of Books, "he swung round and began to preach the need for fixed hierarchies, a strong leader, a state run on authoritarian lines and the more estranged from England he felt, the harsher his contempt for the liberal-democratic virtues. They were part of the rationalism that he saw as the ruin of Europe, with its denial of instinct and impulse—and with mechanized warfare as its natural culmination."
Despite these facts, Lawrence produced some of his best work during this period, completing the major part of Women in Love and all of The Rainbow, which was suppressed by the police in 1915 as pornography. According to Irving Howe in the New York Times Book Review, although Lawrence himself referred to these years as a "nightmare," "in retrospect, it seems clear that they formed a time of crisis and renewal as fruitful as it was painful."
In his review in the New York Times Book Review, Gross noted that Delany "follows Lawrence's zigzag progress from cottage to cottage, from book to book, from crisis to crisis, always setting the scene clearly, reconstructing the story with admirable sympathy and objectivity. And detail, with such a story, counts for as much as it would in a novel." David Gordon added in the Washington Post Book World that "the particular success of Paul Delany's chronicle is due to its narrative energy, sharp yet balanced insights, and to the focus provided by a detailed and nuanced account of the personal experience that went into the making of Lawrence's most strenuous novel, Women in Love." Yet, he also wrote, "it is Delany's purpose to show us that the artist could probably not have written with such force if the man had not tried to actualize the vision, to find real alternatives to the grim reality of wartime England." Howe commented that Delany "is admirably sympathetic, but critical too, in describing the tragicomedy of Lawrence's swings from hunger for a new fraternity to heated bullying of those who hesitated to join with him. Lawrence can easily be made to look ridiculous—indeed he was; but Mr. Delany writes with the assurance that Lawrence was also seeing into the decay of bourgeois civilization as none of the more sane and balanced liberals did." As a reviewer for the New Yorker explained: "This is a distressing and chilling … chronicle of a fine mind in a purgatory of, for the most part, its own making, but the book has its brighter aspects…. As a contribution to a fuller understanding of one of the great flawed writers of our time, it is indispensable."
In The Neo-Pagans: Friendship and Love in the Rupert Brooke Circle, the author examines the poet and his friends and other acquaintances, which includes such literary notables as Virginia Woolf and D.H. Lawrence. In a review in the New Republic, Michael Levenson commented: "The full title of the book suggests its double focus, at once a biography and a milieu study, a Group Portrait with Famous Poet, evidently inspired by the thought that the best way to know the self is to watch it in the heat of social exchange."
As editor with George Landow of Hypermedia and Literary Studies, the author and his colleague present "a collection of essays debating the use and usefulness of the electronic text medium known as hypertext," as noted by Review of English Studies contributor Marilyn Deegan. In Literature, Money, and the Market: From Trollope to Amis, Delany focuses on the interplay between art and the market economy as it effects literature and writing. "Delany wants to restore historical specificity and authorial subjectivity to economic criticism, and so throughout the book we are reminded that authors are also economic agents, with financial ambitions and private preoccupations that often shape and motivate their unique representations of business, class, and marriage," wrote Annette R. Federico in English Literature in Transition, 1880–1920.
Delany once again turns to biography for his book Bill Brandt: A Life. The book details the life of the influential British photographer who was born in Germany and moved to London as an adult. "The number and variety of full-page illustrations, a minimum of four per chapter, make this imposing work a little more visual than most biographies," noted Bruno Chalifour in a review in Afterimage. Writing in the London Sunday Times, Kevin Jackson noted: "In Delany, [Brandt] has found a fine biographer: well informed in photographic and political history, a lucid prose stylist, neither too philistine nor too gullible when it comes to the Freudian readings that Brandt's work attracts as honey-pots attract bears."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Afterimage, September-October, 2004, Bruno Chalifour, review of Bill Brandt: A Life, p. 12.
English Literature in Transition, 1880–1920, winter, 2004, Annette R. Federico, review of Literature, Money, and the Market: From Trollope to Amis, p. 78.
Library Journal, April 1, 2004, Douglas F. Smith, review of Bill Brandt, p. 88.
New Republic, January 27, 1979, Stanley Weintraub, review of D.H. Lawrence's Nightmare, p. 32; August 31, 1987, Michael Levenson, review of The Neo-Pagans; Friendship and Love in the Rupert Brooke Circle, p. 39.
New Statesman, March 22, 2004, Christie Hickman, review of Bill Brandt, p. 52.
New Yorker, January 15, 1979, review of D.H. Lawrence's Nightmare, p. 110.
New York Review of Books, September 27, 1979, John Gross, review of D.H. Lawrence's Nightmare, p. 17.
New York Times Book Review, January 28, 1979, Irving Howe, review of D.H. Lawrence's Nightmare, p. 1.
Review of English Studies, August, 1994, Marilyn Deegan, review of Hypermedia and Literary Studies, p. 453.
Spectator, April 10, 2004, Clemency Burton-Hill, review of Bill Brandt, p. 38.
Sunday Times (London, England), February 29, 2004, Kevin Jackson, review of Bill Brandt.
Technical Communications, February, 1995, James Kalmbach, review of The Digital World: Text-Based Computing in the Humanities, p. 123.
Times Literary Supplement (London, England), October 2, 1969, review of British Autobiography in the Seventeenth Century, p. 1133; December 7, 1979, review of D.H. Lawrence's Nightmare, p. 91; December 20, 2002, Paul Duguid, review of Literature, Money, and the Market, p. 22.
Washington Post Book World, March 25, 1979, David Gordon, review of D.H. Lawrence's Nightmare, p. C5.