Bailey, J O

Tagged: Author | Critic

(1903-1979) US scholar, professor of literature at the University of North Carolina; his Pilgrims through Space and Time: Trends and Patterns in Scientific and Utopian Fiction (1947) was the first academic study of sf, which it analyses primarily on a thematic basis, and without ever using the term "science fiction", referring instead to "scientific fiction" and the Scientific Romance. Only a small amount of its subject matter is taken from sf magazines, which is less surprising when one realizes that Bailey – primarily a Thomas Hardy scholar – based the work on his 1934 doctoral dissertation, which dealt mostly with Victorian sf and Proto SF. Its late publication may be laid down to Bailey's not being able to find an academic publisher who would consider sf worthy of serious study; in the end it was released by Argus Books, a small speciality press, a quiet beginning for what became a great torrent of university-based sf scholarship (see SF in the Classroom). He was honoured when the Science Fiction Research Association's Pilgrim Award (given annually for contributions to sf scholarship) was named after his book; in 1970, he was himself the first recipient. Bailey edited the 1965 edition of the Hollow-Earth novel Symzonia (1820) by Adam Seaborn, which he – almost certainly in error – attributed to John Cleves Symmes. [PN/AR]

see also: Critical and Historical Works About SF; Definitions of SF.

James Osler Bailey

born Raleigh, North Carolina: 12 August 1903

died Chapel Hill, North Carolina: 30 October 1979

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