Journal of Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Split, No. 8 December 2016

Original scientific paper

Ivana Gilić ; Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Split, Split, Croatia 
Brian Daniel Willems   ORCID icon ; Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Split, Split, Croatia 

pages 37-52
08_03_Gilic_Willems PDF


This article analyzes the four books of Samuel R. Delany’s Neveryon cycle: Tales of Neveryon (1979), Neveryona, or: The Tale of Signs and Cities (1983), Flight from Neveryon (1985) and Return to Neveryon (1987). Michel Foucault’s concepts of heterotopia, genealogy, biopolitics and reverse discourse are used to show how a sign of slavery in the novels, the slave collar, is used to create a heterotopia in which dominant discourse is reversed. This thesis starts by taking Foucault’s concepts heterotopia and biopolitics to show how they relate to discourse and illustrate that certain notions we see as inherent are anything but. It continues by putting them in context with Delany and his work in order to demonstrate their correlation to discourse and how these concepts are involved in shaping discourse itself. We outline the dominant sexual discourse of our time to better understand Delany’s need for subverting such discourse and the revolutionary stance he takes in his work by reversing it in a Foucauldian manner. Reading their work together shows that the key step in creating a heterotopia in fiction is not so much distancing oneself from universal thought, but rather, embracing a universal multiplication of discourses, which must be done with caution so as not to fall into the trap of binary oppositions.


Samuel Delany; Neveryon cycle; Michel Foucault; heterotopia; slavery