Long After Midnight

“Long After Midnight”

349.1–350.1 Mr. Montag dreamed…black eyebrows.] A preliminary two-page draft of the opening paragraphs is also preserved within the “Long After Midnight” typescript photocopy.

349.1–352.23 Mr. Montag dreamed…They caught her.] Another opening sequence (consisting of five consecutive leaves) survives within the typescript photocopy. It post-dates the main “Long After Midnight” typescript, and may consist of pages discarded from the unlocated revised text that Bradbury sent to his New York agent in September 1950 for re-typing and circulation. Many points of revision in this five-page run are closer to readings in “The Fireman”; key points include the variant Fireman name “Stoneman.” Although it post-dates the main typescript sequence, Forry Ackerman placed these pages at the top of the entire typescript while he owned it; the top margin of the first leaf is annotated (in Ackerman’s hand): “xeroxed from the original ms. for Donn Albright.”

350.30–35 Yes, Mr. Montag’s mind said…his wife.] Bradbury soon came to realize that this passage gave away too much too early in the “Long After Midnight” narrative. His surviving post-typescript opening revisions, as well as the subsequent “Fireman” published text, lack this passage entirely. In this way, Bradbury’s revisions allow Montag to hide the cause of his unease from readers as well as from the other Firemen. In fact, his secret habit of taking books is not revealed until much later in the novella. This deletion represents the first stage in a significant process of revision—by the time he expands “The Fireman” yet again to create Fahrenheit 451, the firehouse scene is eliminated and Montag seems to epitomize the novel’s opening line: “It was a pleasure to burn.” His unease doesn’t surface at all until he encounters Clarisse McClellan.

353.21 Leahy glared] The typescript reading (“Healy”) is not a revision, but simply the result of a keyboarding transposition.

356.23–357.5 “Mildred,…again and again.] One of the four surviving holograph leaves within the typescript photocopy contains a version of this passage in Bradbury’s hand. Collation suggests that it predates the typescript.

358.1–3 That might…young girl?] A very preliminary three-page holograph run of text survives in Bradbury’s hand, beginning with this passage. It is continuous, but dates from an early period before the next three pages of typescript text (351.32–353.30) had been composed. Instead, the holograph continues directly into a passage that later, in typescript, runs continuously from 353.31 through 355.28. It appears that there were more pages, but no further holograph leaves have been located. This is a significant passage of the narrative, involving Montag’s conversations with Clarisse McClellan.

360.29 “Where are your friends?” he asked.] Context requires Montag’s question, but it is missing entirely from the “Long After Midnight” typescript. It is recovered from the first of three continuous holograph pages (in Bradbury’s hand) that survive from an earlier draft. In “The Fireman,” Bradbury inserted a revised form of this question: “Yes. But what about your friends?”

362.29–363.12 He lay there…no other way.] In the typescript photocopy, this run of text reveals a great deal of bridged and perhaps unsettled revision. The first sentence seems to have been added to the bottom margin of leaf 21; the rest of this run is typed on a cut-down half-leaf and the top third of an unfinished leaf. Full-page running text begins again on leaf 24.

371.9–373.25 “You needed to be put straight…a fire siren.] Five typescript leaves post-date the complete “Long After Midnight” typescript, and represent two stages of revision for the final pages of Part One. They may be discards from the next stage of work—the revised “Fireman” version that he sent on to his New York agent, Don Congdon, for re-typing and circulation during September 1950. These discard fragments are part of the “Long After Midnight” photocopy nest.

371.25 a copy of the Bible,] In the typescript here and at 365.11, Bradbury has interlined “the Bible” by hand over the original reading of “Shakespeare” as he revised Leahy’s first rather gentle interrogation of Montag. In “The Fireman” text, the book title isn’t mentioned.

376.29–382.6 He dialed the call through…”You’re wrong, but you’re right.] A nearly continuous nine-leaf run of unnumbered draft pages for the Montag-Faber meeting survives within the “Long After Midnight” photocopy typescript. In the closing page of the draft sequence, Faber appears weaker than in the final typescript: “During the night I may become afraid for my body again and never speak to you again. I may freeze up…I may refuse to act along with you, later. I am completely undependable. A little too much adrenalin in my blood and I may pop into my rabbit hole.” But the draft sequence also contains a longer historical commentary by Faber that drops out of the final typescript run.

378.4 “You’d never miss me.”] The word “miss” was unintentionally omitted from the final typed version; it is recovered from the first page of the nine-leaf draft sequence described above.

378.6–18 Once as a child…I must.] The childhood memory of the sieve and sand paradox opens the second draft page that survives for this portion of the “Long After Midnight” narrative. The page is titled, in capitals, the sieve and the sand, and in the draft this may have been the opening passage of Part Two; if so, the opening reverie would parallel the dream opening of Part One. In the final typescript Bradbury decided to establish Faber’s identity and the need for the visit before the reverie passage.

378.15 The sieve was empty.] In the draft run of pages for this portion of the typescript, Bradbury inserted an offset note to himself before going on with the text: note for use in later scene: repeat this tale? but have him think, yes? “son, there is a way to fill the sieve with sand, wet the sand!” This idea was not worked into any subsequent stages of the Fahrenheit core texts.

379.33–383.5 A good many thousand…that was how the night felt.] Six unnumbered leaves within the “Long After Midnight” photocopy nest represent post-typescript revisions toward the next stage of work—“The Fireman” text. The revisions run more or less continuously through the second half of Montag’s meeting with Faber, and may be discards from the typescript sent to his agent’s office for re-typing prior to circulation.

381.11–13 “By that time…empty and silent.] In the surviving draft sequence, Faber went further in describing the internal collapse of quality media literature:
        “By that time the great mass of people had been so pulverized by the onslaught of comic books, quick digests, digest of digest, musical reviews and dramas that were so swift and blatant that pace was substituted for content, that public libraries were suddenly as unnecessary as umbrellas in the great Sahara.”

381.15–20 “Can you shout…the T-V?”] The draft version of Faber’s response is less rhetorical, longer, and far more revealing:
      “In the year 2030, Montag, there were only two reputable magazines left on the magazine stands, the rest were true love and sex magazines, the time had come when women with breasts were on every cover of every magazine, bar none, the billboards of the country, as today, were full of women posturing to advertise everything from crankcases to adding machines. Motion pictures that dared to advertise honestly, without the modicum of sex, or a bucketful of it, went down the drain. Fact books outsold fiction ten to one. People were interested only in how-to-do-books, the realm of the imagination was over and done for. That meant anything as unreal as philosophy, too, for if you couldn’t diagram it with nut A fitting bolt A and tab B going in slot C, they didn’t want it. The American nation was busy sliding under cars to hammer at the engine bloc or adjust a screw of a bolt. American women lived in beauty salons. Everyone lived in television parlors.”

383.17–388.23 At eight o’clock…The door slammed.] Nine leaves of fragment drafts survive for the scene where Montag interrupts Mildred’s television party and reads the Matthew Arnold poem “Dover Beach” to the stunned housewives. Points of variation identifying these leaves as drafts include the name Jesse, which was Bradbury’s earliest name for Leonard Montag. The text of the Arnold poem is not extant in these draft pages.

384.4 to bake] The infinitive appears to have been lost through an end-line overrun on Bradbury’s typewriter; the entire sentence survives in the draft pages for the “Dover Beach” scene that survive within the “Long After Midnight” typescript photocopy.

386.5–8 Yes, everything easy…and did nothing.] In the earlier draft fragments, Montag’s unspoken reaction to the women’s aversion to normal childbirth was originally much longer and emotionally-charged:
        Yes, everything must be easy. And don’t you see the pitfall of it, he asked them, silently. To make life easy [is] to make life dull. To mistake the easy way for the right way, how delicious a temptation, but you are not living that way. Oh, I’m not asking you to suffer Job’s wounds (yes, I’ve read Job, recently) or go down a track with a pack on your back. But women who have children by Caesarian section rather than suffer a few good normal (it’s been going on a million years after all) birth pangs, there is no word for them. They skirt contempt. Women as healthy and hipped like a dinosaur, asking for a scalpel instead of a hand to bear down on. And men are no better, everything removed away from a person, everyone so impersonalized that there no longer is identity with any task. The proprietor of a chain drug, what does he care for the chain, for the masses of people who come and go through his place like a shot of mercury. The druggist who owned his own store belonged. These people do not belong. They are passing through. Wasn’t there a song, we’re on we’re on, we’re on our way to nowhere in particular? These people are expendables instead of lovables. That is our plight.

386.34–388.2 He read:…He stopped reading.] The “Long After Midnight” typescript photocopy lacks Montag’s reading of Matthew Arnold’s “Dover Beach.” Presumably, it was intended to be tipped in between “He read:” (which ends one page) and “He stopped reading” (which begins another page). The entire poem would take two pages in Bradbury’s double-spaced typing format. But since none of the leaves in Part Two are numbered, it is impossible to know if the entire poem was inserted across two pages, or if a partial reading was intended, as we find in both “The Fireman” and Fahrenheit 451. The single-page fragment of the “Dover Beach” reading in the Ignorant Armies nest suggests that in the early stages of work, Bradbury intended a full reading of the poem. On that basis, the full text of “Dover Beach,” taken from Bradbury’s preferred source (Untermeyer’s Treasury of Great Poems), is inserted into the “Long After Midnight” narrative at this point.

394.1 Chapter Three] The title page for Part Three (still called Chapter Three here) contains Bradbury’s handwritten calculations of word count. The result is 23,920 words, calculated from 92 pages and 260 words per page. The count was probably made before Bradbury finished the novella; the unnumbered page 93 is a cut-down partial page of text, and Bradbury may have made the count to that point of composition. The title page and its calculations may date from the nine-day period of composition in the UCLA typing room, which is the immediate source of the “Long After Midnight” typescript.

402.16 Mr. Leonard Montag,] The “Long After Midnight” typescript reads “Mr. Jesse Montag” at this point. Jesse was Montag’s original first name, and it appears several times in the early draft fragments that survive within the typescript photocopy. This is the only time that the original name appears in the final typescript; the page (unnumbered leaf 83) ends at a paragraph only three-quarters down the page. Taken together, these clues indicate that leaf 83 was probably pulled forward intact from the earlier draft materials—a legacy, perhaps, of the original nine-day UCLA typing stint.

403.17 The boat floated easily] This sentence opens a new page (unnumbered leaf 85) in the typescript photocopy. The brief bridging paragraph describing Montag’s successful search for a boat along the bank may have been accidentally dropped in preparing the typescript, or it may not have been composed yet. The missing paragraph first appears in the Galaxy magazine text of “The Fireman.”

409.14 “Just wait, that’s all.”] The unnumbered leaf 93 is only three-quarters full, and was probably a temporary bridge within the “Long After Midnight” typescript. A single post-typescript leaf survives in the Albright photocopy of the typescript nest, and that leaf contains Bradbury’s expansion of the narrative as he worked past “Long After Midnight” to finalize the novella as “The Fireman.” This passage, verging on the point where the bombs begin to fall on the city below, may have been one of the first points where Bradbury began to refine the “Long After Midnight” typescript.

410.26–29 But Faber was out. There,…make it.] Bradbury’s page count notes (discussed above) and the possible break in the typescript photocopy at leaf [93] suggest that the final six pages (unnumbered 94–99) may incorporate revisions toward the unlocated “Fireman” typescript that he sent off to his agent in September 1950. This passage represents just such a revision. On leaf [82], it is clear that Faber is to lay low and remain in his house for the foreseeable future, but here on leaf [95], Faber has slipped out of town on the dawn train. In “The Fireman,” Bradbury completed this revision by revising the earlier passage as well.