IUPUI's Center for Ray Bradbury produces new volume on the celebrated author
Two IUPUI professors of English, William F. Touponce and Jonathan R. Eller, have compiled the early works of American author Ray Bradbury in the recently published The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury -- A Critical Edition: Volume I, 1938-1943 (Kent State University Press).
The collection includes some familiar Bradbury works along with 13 stories that few people have read. About half of the book is a critical commentary of the stories, providing the textual history of each story.
The editors say they are on a quest to create three volumes of Bradbury's stories in the order in which they were written, in the earliest versions that the Pulitzer Prize-winning author intended to present to the public.
Touponce is director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies in the Institute for American Thought within the IU School of Liberal Arts. Eller is senior textual editor for the Institute for American Thought and co-founder of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies. Eller also is textual editor for the Peirce Edition Project and the Santayana Edition in the Institute for American Thought.
The book has the seal of approval of the Modern Language Association, the largest body of scholars in the U.S., making its publication nationally significant.
"It's difficult to study creative development if you don't have the stories arranged in chronological order," Touponce said. Because other people rewrote and edited Bradbury's work, it also is important to present the stories in the version the author intended them to be published, he added.
Some of the stories in the volume are well-known, such as "The Crowd," and "The Small Assassin," which are important to the genres of horror and detective fiction, Touponce said. But the book also includes 13 stories that once appeared in magazines, but that have not been published in previous Bradbury collections.
"This is really a look at Bradbury's origins, not only his pulp writings, but his amateur writings that he wrote and published himself," Touponce continued. Born in 1920, Bradbury hadn't been out of high school long when a his short story "Pendulum" appeared in Super Science Stories in 1941. The cover of the book features a photo of Bradbury at a high school football game.
The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies was established in the spring of 2007 as the nation's first center for the study of Bradbury, one of the best-known American cultural figures of the 20th century. His work and influence spans many aspects of modern American intellectual and popular culture, including mainstream literature, the popular genre fields of science fiction, fantasy, horror and detective fiction, and nearly all forms of media presentation, including radio, television, stage drama, film, magazines, periodical and book illustration, and graphic fiction. He is regarded as a cultural mentor in such divergent fields as creative writing, education, public transportation, theme parks and urban architecture.
The Bradbury Center is a repository for unique photocopies of a number of Bradbury manuscript materials and houses a database of his correspondence and published writings.
The central organ of the center is The New Ray Bradbury Review, edited by Touponce and published by Kent State University Press. Dedicated to the life and writings of Bradbury, it is designed primarily to study the impact of his writings on American culture. Its first issue is devoted to the question of adaptation, or Bradbury's translation into other media.