Where Ignorant Armies Clash by Night

"Where Ignorant Armies Clash by Night"

The major points of textual commentary concerning the facsimile leaves of Ignorant Armies are located in the editorial bridges inserted between each of the major fragment runs of text.

292.32–34 He plans with Francion…together into one community.] Along with the earlier episodes of book destruction, the Francione episode and its references to “the people who are the books, with the books held in their minds” represents the closest episodic anticipation of “The Fireman” that survives in the Ignorant Armies fragments. Unfortunately, almost none of the narrative survives from this episode. The name Francione was a Bradbury favorite. It is the name of his long-time friend, the daughter of Madame Man’Ha Garreau-Dombasle, whom he had met only two years earlier during his autumn 1945 trip through Mexico. They met during a graveyard tour of Janitzio in Lake Patzcuaro. He would later name his third daughter Bettina Francione Bradbury in honor of this enduring friendship. The Francione character appears to be a forerunner of Clarisse, the key to Montag’s redemption in “The Fireman” and Fahrenheit 451.

300.12 Of all things, never to have been born is best.] This underlying coda of the Ignorant Armies project is also the title of the only stand-alone story surviving within the fragment nachlass. For a discussion of the use of this phrase by Leigh Brackett and her close mentoring connection with Bradbury, see the discussion in the volume’s textual essay, “Writing by Degrees.”

321.1–25 “The sea…furl’d.] Bradbury’s typescript of the first three and a half stanzas of Mathew Arnold’s “Dover Beach” may have continued to its conclusion, but the next leaf has not been located among the Ignorant Armies fragments. Several points of punctuation vary from the text he is known to have consulted, Louis Untermeyer’s A Treasury of Great Poems (NY: Simon & Schuster, 1942), but the typescript also agrees with the Untermeyer text at points where other anthologies vary. There was no definitive edition of Arnold’s poems until 1950.

335.2–7 dover beach…Louis Untermeyer.] Bradbury’s typewritten note on this fragment conclusion provides the main evidence for Bradbury’s source of the poem. For a discussion of Bradbury’s regard for Untermeyer and their later editorial connections, see the volume’s textual essay, “Writing by degrees,” and relevant notes.

336.1 Dear Miss Gauss:] A final version of this letter, intended for Harper’s Magazine fiction editor Katherine Gauss, has not been located. Bradbury was known to the Harper’s editorial staff, and had just published “The Man Upstairs” in the March 1947 issue.