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Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury

David Seed
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Ray Bradbury
    Book Description:

    As much as any individual, Ray Bradbury brought science fiction's ideas into the mainstream. Yet he transcended the genre in both form and popularity, using its trappings to explore timely social concerns and the kaleidoscope of human experience while in the process becoming one of America's most beloved authors. David Seed follows Bradbury's long career from the early short story masterpieces through his work in a wide variety of broadcast and film genres to the influential cultural commentary he spread via essays, speeches, and interviews. Mining Bradbury's classics and hard-to-find archival, literary, and cultural materials, Seed analyzes how the author's views on technology, authoritarianism, and censorship affected his art; how his Midwest of dream and dread brought his work to life; and the ways film and television influenced his creative process and visually oriented prose style. The result is a passionate statement on Bradbury's status as an essential literary writer deserving of a place in the cultural history of his time.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09690-7
    Subjects: History, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-[x])
    (pp. 1-44)

    On June 6, 2012, the day after Ray Douglas Bradbury’s death, President Obama declared that “his gift for storytelling reshaped our culture and expanded our world.”¹ The many Science Fiction authors paying tribute to him included Ursula Le Guin, David Brin, and Margaret Atwood, all recalling the formative role played in their careers by his fiction. Starting with the 1948 O. Henry Award for one of his stories, Bradbury’s many subsequent honors included the 2000 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters awarded by the National Book Foundation and the 2004 National Medal of Arts awarded by President Bush. In...

    (pp. 45-82)

    Since the late nineteenth century Mars has tantalized the literary imagination with the possibility that life might exist on that planet, a possibility given famous embodiment from 1912 onward in the Barsoom novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Bradbury discovered Burroughs’s fiction at the age of ten and has stated repeatedly in interviews how the Mars novels caught his imagination, so much so that in the early 1930s he wrote comic-book panels of them.¹ Although Bradbury later classed Burroughs as belonging to “very primitive authors,” the latter’s John Carter novels must have suggested the possibility to him that Mars could function...

    (pp. 83-121)

    Fahrenheit 451has achieved widespread recognition as a classic among postwar American dystopias. Thanks to the publication of a number of uncollected stories and of drafts, we are now in a good position to identify the different elements that went into the composition of the novel. Around 1947 Bradbury began a work to be called, after Matthew Arnold’s “Dover Beach,”Where Ignorant Armies Clash by Night.¹ Drafted first as a stage play and then as a prose narrative, this work takes place some two hundred years into the future against a background “land of fused ruins and broken vehicles.”² Framed...

    (pp. 122-158)

    Throughout his career, Bradbury expressed his sense of writing in the Space Age, a time which he felt was characterized by the visual sublime, and from his earliest writings space was an important concern. In the first number ofFuturia Fantasiafor Summer 1939 Bradbury included his poem “Thought and Space,” which opens: “Space—thy boundaries are / Time and time alone. / No earth-born rocket, / seedling skyward sown, / Will ever reach your cold, / infinite end.” He is already imagining space as an expanse to be filled by the imagination. Conversely, his biographer Sam Weller has recalled:...

    (pp. 159-184)
  8. NOTES
    (pp. 185-200)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 201-208)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 209-214)