Truffaut and Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451 (Special Issue)
Categories: Genre & Form, Narratology, Interdisciplinary, Cultural Studies, Film, TV, & Media, History, Philosophy, Literary Theory, Pedagogy
Organization: Center for Ray Bradbury Studies
CFP: “Truffaut and Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451”
The New Ray Bradbury Review special issue
(Guest Editor: Phil Nichols)
2016 will see the fiftieth anniversary of the release of Francois Truffaut’s adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. To mark the occasion, The New Ray Bradbury Review will publish a special issue devoted to this film, its production and its legacy.
Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) is a widely read author of science fiction, fantasy and horror, who enjoyed a parallel career as a playwright and screenwriter. He claimed to be a “hybrid writer” whose works were both inspired by cinema, and suitable for cinematic adaptation. An ambitious cinephile, he longed to collaborate with major figures in world cinema, ranging from David Lean to Federico Fellini to Akira Kurosawa to Satyajit Ray, but saw much of his work adapted in routine productions of limited creative success: for example The Illustrated Man (dir. Jack Smight, 1969), The Martian Chronicles (TV, dir. Michael Anderson, 1980). Fahrenheit 451 (1966) stands apart as the only one of his major works to have been made into a feature film by a major cinematic director.
Francois Truffaut (1932-1984) emerged from the stable of Cahiers du Cinema critics to become a leading figure in the French “new wave” cinema of the early 1960s, achieving substantial worldwide critical success with films such as Les Quatre Cents Coups (1959) and Jules et Jim (1962), before embarking on the adaptation of Fahrenheit 451 as his first feature film made in English. While a troubled production, and arguably one of Truffaut’s minor works, Fahrenheit 451 still retains a critical appeal today because of its poetic engagement with ideas around the isolated individual in a world of shallow communications. Truffaut was both a cineaste and a bibliophile, and his film presents a characteristically unique take on books, with Nicolas Roeg’s cinematography drawing the viewer into memorable scenes of book-burning which are by turns beautiful and horrifying.
The New Ray Bradbury Review, produced since 2008 by the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at Indiana University and published by Kent State University Press, seeks articles for this special issue (NRBR No. 5) devoted to Truffaut’s film. We are particularly interested in submissions that explore points of similarity and contrast in Bradbury’s and Truffaut’s respective views of a world without literature; analyses of the sign systems in use in the novel and the film; considerations of the cinematic “potential” in Bradbury’s novel; and evaluations of Truffaut’s and his collaborators’ (e.g. art director Syd Cain, production designer Tony Walton, cinematographer Nicolas Roeg) engagement with science-fictional world-building.
Areas of interest include (but are not limited to):
- The emergence of “cinematic” writing in Bradbury’s fiction
- Fahrenheit 451 as a novel with a filmic structure
- The use of the film Fahrenheit 451 in teaching the novel
- Narrative analysis of the screenplay (by Truffaut and Jean-Louis Richard)
- The film’s use of mise en scene, cinematography and editing
- Fahrenheit 451 as a film with a delight for literature
- The portrayal of relationships and intimacy in Fahrenheit 451 and the other films of Truffaut
- Linguistic issues for a French director/screenwriters working in English
- The reception of the film Fahrenheit 451 by critics and viewers
- Other attempts to film Fahrenheit 451 (by Mel Gibson, Frank Darabont and others)
- Bradbury’s theatrical play version of Fahrenheit 451 (Dramatic Publishing, 1986) as a response to Truffaut’s film
Interested authors should note that the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies holds many materials which can be accessed by researchers. These include copies of Bradbury’s own scripts and manuscripts, and of the Truffaut/Richard screenplay, as well as contextual materials relating to both the novel and the film. Enquiries about these materials should be made in the first instance to Phil Nichols (Guest Editor), who is also Senior Adviser to the Center.
Proposals of up to 500 words should be submitted by 15 August 2014 to Phil Nichols (firstname.lastname@example.org). Authors of selected abstracts will be notified by 15 September 2014. Full drafts (5,000 to 7,000 words) will be due by 28 February 2015. The issue is provisionally scheduled for 2016.