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Hubert Selby, Jr., letters to John S. Friedman


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Hubert Selby, Jr. (1928-2004), was an American novelist known for his dark portrayals of urban street life, sexual violence, and drug addiction. His controversial first novel,

Last Exit to Brooklyn (1964), was censored in Britain and banned in Italy, but found traction with counterculture audiences in the US. Selby was the author of several additional novels including The Demon (1976) and Requiem for a Dream (1978), in addition to two screenplays and a few short story collections.

"Hubert Selby Jr." The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives, Thematic Series: The 1960s, 2003. Gale Biography in Context. (accessed October 2017).

The collection comprises eleven letters from Hubert Selby, Jr., to journalist and friend John S. Friedman which include an autobiographical statement by Selby as well as a typed draft of a short story entitled, “A Little Respect.” Also included is one handwritten letter from Selby’s wife Suzanne to Friedman (written when the novelist was too ill to reply to Friedman). In the autobiographical statement, Selby recounted his battle with tuberculosis that nearly took his life (Selby had ten ribs removed and one lung collapsed during surgery for the illness), and described his early impulses to write stories. His letters to Friedman mostly describe his day-to-day goings-on and are written from three different locales: Los Angeles, New York, and Old Greenwich, Connecticut. Characters from two novels in progress,

The Demon and Requiem for a Dream are mentioned in the letters. “A Little Respect,” Selby’s short story that accompanies one letter, deals with television’s effect on a boy’s ability to socially function, as seen from his father’s perspective.

F1042: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0099

Purchase, July 2017.

Processed and encoded by Dustin Frohlich, October 2017.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2017 October
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

Hubert Selby, Jr., letters to John S. Friedman, 1973-1981.
Folder F1042

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