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The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury

Cover images of all three volumes

The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury is a multi-volume scholarly edition of Bradbury’s short fiction. So far, three volumes of a projected eight have been published by The Kent State University Press.

What is a critical edition?

A critical edition, unlike other publications, strives for precision and reliability in its presentation of a text. In the case of fictional works, scholarly editions are the product of a textual editor’s careful examination of the many versions of a short story or novel, including early drafts, page proofs, and multiple trade editions. After determining the appropriate theoretical guidelines for the project, the editor works with all the relevant witnesses to construct a definitive version of the text. This process involves recording the textual variants across the multiple versions of a short story or novel and documenting them in a textual apparatus. Sometimes the resulting text represents the author’s final intentions for their work, or, in the case of the The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury, the author’s earliest intentions.

How can the Collected Stories help me?

Covering the years 1938 to 1945, the first three volumes of the Collected Stories employ a chronologicalstructure, printing Bradbury’s first 79 published short stories “in the order in which they were written” (Touponce xii). Every volume contains an introductory essay, a chronology, and historical annotations, along with a textual record and apparatus. The volumes also include a textual commentary that explores the development of Bradbury’s stories over time and how that development informs our understanding of his work. For example, in the third volume’s commentary, Dr. Eller writes that:

When brought to light, the true compositional order of Bradbury’s stories yields significant new information about his development as a unique stylist and master of short fiction. The best of his genre stories were actually written far earlier than previously known, a discovery that provides more accurate documentation for the incredibly brief span of years during which Bradbury developed from a promising but inconsistent and self-conscious young writer into a masterful teller of fantasy, science fiction, and horror tales. (Eller 308)

As numerous critics have shown, the well-edited scholarly edition is fundamental to literary scholarship, and the first three volumes of the Collected Stories, designed to recover, document, and preserve Bradbury’s textual legacy, “belong…in the library of anyone seriously interested in either Bradbury or the early history of science fiction as genre” (SFRA 51).

External Links:

The SFRA's Review of Collected Stories, Vol. 1

Links to all volumes at The Kent State University Press

 

The New Ray Bradbury Review

The cover of The New Ray Bradbury Review, number 1An annual dedicated to the life and writings of one of America’s most prolific and popular authors

"Like its pioneering predecessor, the one-volume review published in 1952 by William F. Nolan, The New Ray Bradbury Review contains articles and reviews about Bradbury but has a much broader scope, including a thematic focus for each issue. Since Nolan composed his slim volume at the beginning of Bradbury’s career, Bradbury has birthed hundreds of stories and half a dozen novels, making him one of this country’s most anthologized authors. While his effect on the genres of fantasy, horror, and science fiction is still being assessed, there is no doubt of his impact, and to judge from the testimony of his readers, many of them now professional writers themselves, it is clear that he has affected the lives of five generations of young readers.

The New Ray Bradbury Review is designed primarily to study the impact of Ray Bradbury’s writings on American culture. It is the central publication of The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, an archive of Bradbury’s writings located at Indiana University. This first number is devoted to the question of adaptation, or Bradbury’s translation into other media. Bradbury often speaks of himself as a “hybrid” writer, someone whose authorship took shape in a culture dominated by mass media and the decline of book reading. What has been the effect of this “reign of adaptations” on Bradbury’s authorship? How has Bradbury in turn been served by the translation of his work into other media—radio, film, television—both by himself and by others? A group of international scholars explores these questions in terms of the media they work in and study. This first number also features two of Bradbury’s unpublished screenplays and an extensive bibliography of Bradbury’s adaptation into other media.

Fans and scholars will welcome The New Ray Bradbury Review, as it will add to the understanding of the life and work of this recently honored author, who received both a National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize."

Becoming Ray Bradbury and Ray Bradbury Unbound

A comprehensive account of Bradbury's life in two volumes

Volume 1: Becoming Ray BradburyCover of Becoming Ray Bradbury

"Becoming Ray Bradbury chronicles the making of an iconic American writer by exploring Ray Bradbury's childhood and early years of his long life in fiction, film, television, radio, and theater. Jonathan R. Eller measures the impact of the authors, artists, illustrators, and filmmakers who stimulated Bradbury's imagination throughout his first three decades. Unprecedented access to Bradbury's personal papers and other private collections provides insight into his emerging talent through his unpublished correspondence, his rare but often insightful notes on writing, and his interactions with those who mentored him during those early years. 

Beginning with his childhood in Waukegan, Illinois, and Los Angeles, this biography follows Bradbury's development from avid reader to maturing author, making a living writing for the genre pulps and mainstream magazines. Eller illuminates the sources of Bradbury's growing interest in the human mind, the human condition, and the ambiguities of life and death--themes that became increasingly apparent in his early fiction. Bradbury's correspondence documents his frustrating encounters with the major trade publishing houses and his earliest unpublished reflections on the nature of authorship. Eller traces the sources of Bradbury's very conscious decisions, following the sudden success of The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man, to voice controversial political statements in his fiction. Eller also elucidates the complex creative motivations that yielded Fahrenheit 451.

Becoming Ray Bradbury reveals Bradbury's emotional world as it matured through his explorations of cinema and art, his interactions with agents and editors, his reading discoveries, and the invaluable reading suggestions of older writers. These largely unexplored elements of his life pave the way to a deeper understanding of his more public achievements, providing a biography of the mind, the story of Bradbury's self-education and the emerging sense of authorship at the heart of his boundless creativity."

Volume 2: Bradbury UnboundCover of Bradbury Unbound

"Fully established in the slick magazines, award-winning, and on the brink of placing Fahrenheit 451 in the American canon, Ray Bradbury entered the autumn of 1953 as a literary figure transcending fantasy and science fiction. In Ray Bradbury Unbound, Jonathan R. Eller continues the story begun in his acclaimed Becoming Ray Bradbury, following the beloved writer's evolution from a short story master to a multi-media creative force and outspoken visionary. 

Drawn into screenwriting by the chance to adapt Moby Dick for film, Bradbury soon established himself in Hollywood's vast and overlapping film and television empires. The work swallowed up creative energy once devoted to literary pursuits and often left Bradbury frustrated with studio executives. 

Yet his successes endowed him with the gravitas to emerge as a much sought after cultural commentator. His passionate advocacy in Life and other media outlets validated the U.S. space program's mission--a favor repaid when NASA's astronauts gathered to meet Bradbury during his 1967 visit to Houston. Over time, his public addresses and interviews allowed him to assume the role of a dreamer of futures voicing opinions on technology, the moon landing, and humanity's ultimate destiny. 

Eller draws on many years of interviews with Bradbury as well as an unprecedented access to personal papers and private collections to portray the origins and outcomes of Bradbury's countless creative endeavors. The result is the definitive story of how a great American author helped shape his times."

The Life of FictionCover of the Life of Fiction

A textutual, biographical, and culutral study of sixty years of Bradbury's fiction

"Drawing on correspondence with his publishers, agents, and friends, as well as archival manuscripts, The Life of Fiction examines the story of Bradbury’s authorship over more than a half-century, from his earliest writings, which include The Martian Chronicles, to his most recently published novel, Let’s All Kill Constance. It shows in detail the often devious and unsuspected interconnections between his unpublished fiction, his story collections, and his most celebrated novels."