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Editor: Rafeeq O. McGiveron
November 2013 · 1 volume · 300 pages · 6"x9"
An exploration of the most up-to–date collection of scholarly thinking on Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 from all standard critical perspectives.
Edited by Rafeeq O. McGiveron, English scholar and author of extensive literary criticism of Fahrenheit 451 and other works, this volume in the Critical Insights series presents a variety of new essays on Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.
A classic novel of dystopian science fiction, Fahrenheit 451 also has been adapted for the theater, film, television, and radio. Bradbury’s swift, poetic, elegiac work tells the story of an America of the not-too-distant future, where books are outlawed, citizens in violation are hustled swiftly away to psychiatric prisons, and the offenders’ houses are duly burned by kerosene-wielding “firemen.” After all, books—and the thoughts and emotions they bring—are a threat to the fast-paced consumer’s paradise of four-wall television rooms, jet cars, and tranquilizers. All the while, however, jet bombers circle ominously in the night, violence is endemic in entertainment and on the streets, families are bleakly loveless, and suicide is commonplace. As disenchanted fireman Guy Montag says, “We have everything we need to be happy, but we aren’t happy. Something’s missing.”
First published in 1953, Fahrenheit 451 is more relevant than ever as reading skills decline and attention spans shorten, electronic entertainment grows more ubiquitous, even addictive, and the world seems to speed up. “There is more than one way to burn a book,” said Bradbury in 1979, but Fahrenheit 451 helps lead the way back to true humanity.
In this volume, introductory essays situate the novel in its historical and cultural context and also survey its critical reception, while subsequent chapters explore Bradbury’s creation and reworking of the story, issues such as memory, love and morality, domesticity, intellectual property and censorship, and the appeal of Fahrenheit 451 in other media. Rounding out the volume is a bibliography of other important critical sources for readers seeking to study the novel and its themes further.