Monday, February 11, 2008

Notes on Fahrenheit 451

Here's something I posted at Citizen of Somewhere Else not too long ago. To make up for monopolizing the panel I was on with Professor Parsons, I've encouraged him to consider the first hour of class tomorrow all his!


My university is participating in the Chautauqua/Cattaraugus counties' version of The Big Read, with their focus on Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. As the last person in the department to teach our Science Fiction course, I'll be contributing to a panel discussion on "Fahrenheit 451 as Novel" with my colleague Dustin Parsons early this afternoon. The goal is to get the audience thinking and talking, so I'm aiming for short and sweet.

Here's my talk's outline (with page numbers keyed to the 50th Anniversary Edition):

I. Where It Comes From

  • A. History: Fascism, McCarthyism, The Great Depression (132, 150-154), the Bomb (158-162)
  • B. Literature: Dystopias, American Pastoralism (140-145, 157), World Literature (150-153), The Martian Chronicles (Grand Master Edition 31, 108, 180)

II. How It Is Relevant Today

  • A. Postmodernism and New Media: Entertainment (81-82, 84, 87), Information (61), Knowledge (105-108), Wisdom (75, 82-86, 163-165)
  • B. Democracy and Capitalism: Mass Culture (54-55, 89, 108), Diversity (57-60), War (73-74, 87, 158-162)

Here are some suggestions for further reading. First, a few novels:

  • Samuel R. Delany, The Einstein Intersection (1967)
  • William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984)
  • Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale (1985)
  • Leslie Marmon Silko, Almanac of the Dead (1991)
  • Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower (1993)

Then, a few links:

No comments: