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Becoming Ray Bradbury$
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Jonathan R. Eller

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036293

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036293.001.0001

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Political Controversy

Political Controversy

(p.268) 44 Political Controversy
Becoming Ray Bradbury

Jonathan R. Eller

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines how Ray Bradbury got caught in the bipolar complexities of postwar literary politics. It first considers Bradbury's concern with the foreign and domestic challenges that America faced as the election of 1952 approached, along with his disappointment with liberals over what he perceived as their reluctance to stand up to Joe McCarthy. It then discusses Bradbury's political activities of the period, including his publication of an open letter titled “To the Republican Party” in Daily Variety urging moderate Republicans to maintain a distance from McCarthy, along with two other critical commentaries. It also assesses the impact of Bradbury's letter on his story “The Garbage Man,” as well as his decision to transform “The Fireman” into a full-length novel and expand it into a more fully developed characterization of McCarthyism that would also expose Modernity's more subtle signs of cultural decay.

Keywords:   literary politics, Ray Bradbury, election, liberals, open letter, Joe McCarthy, Republican Party, The Garbage Man, The Fireman, McCarthyism

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