Bright Phoenix

“Bright Phoenix”

149.14–16 I tore a page from demosthenes,…rolled it…lit it, puffed it,] In the original 1949–50 draft, this action contains two different literary allusions: a second waiter takes on the identity of Demosthenes, and delivers the quotation; the narrator-librarian then rolls, lights and smokes a page from Kipling’s “Gunga Din” and recites the final line of the poem. The Kipling allusion disappears from the finished version.

151.28–32 The old man…”Good evening, Isaiah,” I said.] In the preliminary 1949–50 draft, the old man is identified as Socrates, and he delivers no lines. The final version’s shift in identity to the prophet Isaiah broadens the range of Book People in a way that anticipates the Fahrenheit core texts. The Socrates identity is shifted to the narrator-librarian, who had closed the story as Shelley in the preliminary draft.