Bradbury center to celebrate master storyteller’s birthday and legacy with August events

Photo taken from new.iupui.eduAugust 22nd marks the 95th anniversary of visionary science fiction and fantasy writer Ray Bradbury’s birth. The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis will hold three special events in August to celebrate the Midwestern-born author who went on to become one of the best-known storytellers of our time.

From Aug. 3 to 28, the center will present a free exhibit, “Miracles of Rare Device: Treasures of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies,” in the Cultural Arts Gallery on the first floor of the IUPUI Campus Center. Summer hours for the exhibition are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday until Aug. 19, when gallery hours extend from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

The exhibit will feature art, artifacts, books and rare magazines from Bradbury’s own collection, gifted to the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI in 2013 by the Bradbury Estate and by Donn Albright, Bradbury’s close friend and bibliographer.

“These new collections include the author’s papers, his working library, 40 years of his correspondence, his entire office, and a lifetime of awards and mementos,” said Jonathan R. Eller, Chancellor’s Professor of English and director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies.

“The August gallery show allows us to exhibit examples of these one-of-a-kind gifts for students and the broader Indianapolis community in ways that reflect Bradbury’s abiding international legacy as a champion of literacy, libraries, freedom of the imagination and the exploration of outer space.”

Eller and the IU School of Liberal Arts are working to expand the Bradbury archives and artifacts into a permanent public display, teaching and research resource on the IUPUI campus.

Two related public events will coincide with the exhibition’s run. At 6 p.m. Aug. 19, Eller will deliver the Second Annual Ray Bradbury Memorial Lecture in the Riley Meeting Room at Indianapolis Public Library’s Central Library. The lecture, “Ray Bradbury’s October Country,” reveals the timeless creativity and somewhat controversial publishing history of one of Bradbury’s most popular story collections on the 60th anniversary of its original publication.

At 5 p.m. Aug. 27, the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies will host a reception in the Campus Center Atrium outside the Cultural Arts Gallery, followed by Eller’s lecture on the collection’s amazing journey from California to IUPUI and the importance of Bradbury’s legacy in the 21st century. Both the lecture and reception are free and open to the public.

The Campus Center is at 420 University Blvd., between Michigan and New York streets. Visitor parking is available for a fee in the adjacent Vermont Street Garage and in the Sports Garage on New York Street.

Eller first met Ray Bradbury in 1989, developing a working friendship that lasted until Bradbury’s death in June 2012. Eller has authored several books, including “Becoming Ray Bradbury” and “Ray Bradbury Unbound” (University of Illinois Press). He also edits the Bradbury Center’s multivolume “Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury” (Kent State University Press).

A number of organizations are providing planning and resource support for the “Miracles of Rare Device” gallery exhibition, including the IU School of Liberal Arts, IUPUI’s Museum Studies Program, IUPUI’s Center for Digital Scholarship, the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, and the Indiana Historical Society.

Professor Publishes Second Volume of Authoritative Biography

Ray-Bradbury-UnboundFully established in the slick magazines, award-winning, and on the brink of placing Fahrenheit 451 in the American canon, Ray Bradbury entered the autumn of 1953 as a literary figure transcending fantasy and science fiction. In Ray Bradbury Unbound, Jonathan R. Eller continues the story begun in his acclaimed Becoming Ray Bradbury, following the beloved writer’s evolution from a short story master to a multi-media creative force and outspoken visionary.

Drawn into screenwriting by the chance to adapt Moby Dick for film, Bradbury soon established himself in Hollywood’s vast and overlapping film and television empires. The work swallowed up creative energy once devoted to literary pursuits and often left Bradbury frustrated with studio executives.

Yet his successes endowed him with the gravitas to emerge as a much sought after cultural commentator. His passionate advocacy in Life and other media outlets validated the U.S. space program’s mission — a favor repaid when NASA’s astronauts gathered to meet Bradbury during his 1967 visit to Houston. Over time, his public addresses and interviews allowed him to assume the role of a dreamer of futures voicing opinions on technology, the moon landing, and humanity’s ultimate destiny.

Eller draws on many years of interviews with Bradbury as well as an unprecedented access to personal papers and private collections to portray the origins and outcomes of Bradbury’s countless creative endeavors. The result is the definitive story of how a great American author helped shape his times.

“A thorough documentation of Bradbury’s career. . . . This warm, informative biography depicts him as a thoughtful and disciplined writer who helped make science fiction a respected literary genre.”–Kirkus

“Eller captures the joy of creations that new forms allowed Bradbury, such as the intensely visual interpretation of Moby Dick that he wrote for director John Huston. . . . Fans who know Bradbury only for his fiction are likely to enjoy this diverse look at his work and creative process.”–Publishers Weekly

“Intimate, conscientious, and triumphant, a truly profound examination of Bradbury’s accomplishments and legacy. Highly recommended for all sf lovers and those with an appreciation for non-fiction and literature.”–Library Journal

“Engaging. . . . Eller’s second volume of Bradbury’s biography is ultimately a melancholy and cautionary tale.”–Washington Post

“Few contemporary authors have been written about as extensively as Ray Bradbury, but no one has surpassed Jonathan Eller. In his previous study, Becoming Ray Bradbury, he captured the odd nature of Bradbury’s imagination perfectly in the context of his life and age — keeping a myriad of influences and ambitions in perspective. With the publication of Ray Bradbury Unbound, Eller not only confirms his position as the great comprehensive Bradbury scholar. He has also written what may be the best single account of a major science fiction author’s rise to fame and achievement.”–Dana Gioia, author of Pity the Beautiful and former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts

Jonathan R. Eller is a Chancellor’s Professor of English at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis, the senior textual editor of the Institute for American Thought, and director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at IUPUI. Becoming Ray Bradbury was a runner-up for the 2011 Locus Award for best nonfiction book in the science fiction and fantasy field.

Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, IU Cinema pair to present sci-fi film series

Ray Bradbury in 1975 | Photo by Alan Light

Ray Bradbury in 1975 | Photo by Alan Light

Ray Bradbury, one of the best known science-fiction and fantasy writers of our time, will be the focus of a special four-day film series at IU Cinema on Indiana University’s Bloomington campus beginning March 24.

Ray Bradbury: From Science to the Supernatural” is intended as an exploration and celebration of his works on screen. The series, which includes lectures and panel discussions, was programmed by the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, part of the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Oskar Werner starred in the 1966 film adaptation of "Fahrenheit 451." | Photo by Anglo Enterprise/Vineyard/The Kobal Collection

Oskar Werner starred in the 1966 film adaptation of “Fahrenheit 451.” | Photo by Anglo Enterprise/Vineyard/The Kobal Collection

In addition to being the author of such enduring books as “The Martian Chronicles,” “The Illustrated Man,” “Fahrenheit 451,” “Dandelion Wine” and “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” Bradbury was a successful screenwriter whose works were also adapted for film and television by other writers.

IU Cinema, an internationally recognized center for the study, presentation and preservation of film, will offer the following events:

  • 7 p.m. March 24, “Bradbury TV and Shorts Program” — The series kicks off with a unique gathering of short subjects, including the 1962 Oscar-nominated “Icarus Montgolfier Wright,” scripted by Bradbury and George Clayton Johnson. This animated film showcases paintings by Joseph Mugnaini, the illustrator closely associated with Bradbury’s books. Other short items include Bradbury stories adapted for “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and “The Twilight Zone.”
  • 7 p.m. March 26, “It Came From Outer Space” — Bradbury fans and scholars will have the opportunity to view the 1953 feature film based on an original Bradbury concept and screen treatment. Paper optic glasses will allow the audience to watch the film in 3-D — a unique opportunity to see this classic Jack Arnold-directed film as it was originally intended.
  • 6:30 p.m. March 27, “A Sound of Different Drummers” and 9:30 p.m. March 27, “Fahrenheit 451″ — This double bill showcases two adaptations of Bradbury’s classic novel “Fahrenheit 451.” The evening begins with “A Sound of Different Drummers,” an uncredited television adaptation of Bradbury’s novel for the 1957 season of “Playhouse 90,” followed by a screening of the well-known 1966 film adaptation by François Truffaut. The intermission will include a panel discussion of the fascinating history surrounding these two landmark productions. Separate tickets are required for each film.
  • 3 p.m. March 28, “Moby Dick” — On its final day, the series closes with two films that showcase the broad range of Bradbury’s own screenwriting talents. The first is John Huston’s 1956 production of the classic novel, which was an early success that secured Bradbury’s Hollywood reputation. A panel discussion will be held following this film and before the evening screening of “Something Wicked This Way Comes.”
  • 6:30 p.m. March 28, “Something Wicked This Way Comes” — Directed by Jack Clayton, this is the result of a 30-year arc of creativity that transformed an original Bradbury short story into a script, a novel and finally a successful film production.

IU Cinema director Jon Vickers has worked closely with Bradbury Center director Jonathan Eller and the center’s senior advisor, Phil Nichols, to develop the program for the Bradbury film series.

“Every session has fascinating cultural connections,” said Eller, an IUPUI Chancellor’s Professor who is also the editor of Bradbury’s early collected stories and the author of two Bradbury biographies. “The Academy Award-nominated ‘Icarus Montgolfier Wright,’ a story of our quest to reach the moon, was screened in the Kennedy White House just as those dreams were beginning to move toward reality.”

The Bradbury Center has preserved Bradbury’s master 35mm reel of that animated film, along with thousands of other Bradbury artifacts, books and papers.

“The highlight of the week may be the chance on Friday to view John Frankenheimer’s masterful direction of ‘A Sound of Different Drummers’ as a prelude to the screening of Truffaut’s adaptation of ‘Fahrenheit 451,'” Eller said. “The uncredited ‘Playhouse 90′ adaptation led to legal actions and appeals that Bradbury eventually won, but these events are outweighed by the unique opportunity to compare the Truffaut film with Frankenheimer’s seldom-seen television precursor. Frankenheimer was not involved in the legal actions, and his acknowledged mastery of television drama would soon translate into a major Hollywood film career.”

“These screenings offer the first curated overview of Bradbury’s legacy in film and television,” said Nichols, a well-known Bradbury media scholar on the Faculty of Arts at the University of Wolverhampton in the United Kingdom. “Selecting the films for this event has been a challenge, because of the range and diversity of Bradbury’s work.”

In discussion panels March 27 and 28, Nichols will reveal some of the findings from his research among the papers in the Bradbury Center.

All “Ray Bradbury: From Science to the Supernatural” events are free and open to the public, but tickets are required for IU Cinema film screenings. Due to expected demand and limited seating, tickets should be secured in advance.

Tickets can be obtained at the IU Auditorium box office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; or by phone at 812-855-1103 for a $10 service fee per order. If seats remain, tickets also will be available in the IU Cinema lobby 60 minutes before each screening.

“Ray Bradbury: From Science to the Supernatural” is sponsored by IUPUI’s Center for Ray Bradbury Studies; IU Bloomington’s College Arts & Humanities Institute; IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute; IU’s Advanced Visualization Lab; Science on Screen, an initiative of the Coolidge Corner Theatre Foundation with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; and IU Cinema.

The symposium and series will take place at the IU Cinema, a 260-seat, THX-certified cinema that is dedicated to the scholarly study of film and the highest standards of exhibition. IU Cinema is one of a small percentage of theaters still able to project 35mm and 16mm films properly, as well as using the latest digital technology.

Bradburymedia blog

Reading at the Table presents Dr. Jonathan Eller with Ray Bradbury Unbound

Jonathan Eller, director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at IUPUI, with a few pulps featuring Bradbury's stories from the center's archives.  Photo: Nuvo

Jonathan Eller, director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at IUPUI, with a few pulps featuring Bradbury’s stories from the center’s archives.
Photo: Nuvo

The Office of Academic Affairs and the Faculty Club invite you to attend the Reading at the Table presentation scheduled for Wednesday, December 10, 2014, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., when Dr. Jonathan Eller discusses his latest book in the Ray Bradbury series:  Ray Bradbury Unbound.

At the height of his powers as a poetic prose stylist, Bradbury shifted his creative attention to film and television, where new successes gave him an enduring platform as a compelling cultural commentator. His passionate advocacy validated the U.S. space program’s mission, extending his pivotal role as a chronicler of human values in an age of technological wonders.
Informed by many years of interviews with Bradbury as well as an unprecedented access to personal papers and private collections, Ray Bradbury Unbound provides the definitive portrait of how a legendary American author helped shape his times.
A buffet lunch is available for $13, including taxes and gratuity.  Dessert and soft drinks are extra.  Please register in advance for this event.

Bradbury lecture celebrates master storyteller’s birthday and legacy

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Center for Ray Bradbury Studies Director Jonathan Eller with science fiction and fantasy magazines with Ray Bradbury stories, part of the Bradbury-Albright Collection.

Professor Jonathan Eller, director of IUPUI’s Center for Ray Bradbury Studies and Chancellor’s Professor of English, will present the inaugural Bradbury Lecture at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20.

The lecture, in the West Reading Room of the Indianapolis Central Library, 40 E. St. Clair St., is free and open to the public.

“Ray Bradbury in the Twenty-First Century” draws on the unique and extensive archives of the Bradbury Center, which is home to the iconic author’s papers, his working library, and a lifetime of his awards and mementos. These materials, recent gifts of the Bradbury family and the author’s longtime friend and bibliographer, Donn Albright, are part of the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

“Everybody knows a Ray Bradbury story,” Eller said. “Generations of school children and college students have read his work in hundreds of anthologies and textbooks; teachers and librarians continue to value his stories and his poetic, metaphor-rich style.”

Bradbury’s stories have a unique staying power in American culture.

“He published more than 400 stories,” Eller said. “And he wove them into such modern classics as ‘The Martian Chronicles,’ ‘The Illustrated Man,’ ‘The Golden Apples of the Sun,’ ‘The October Country,’ and two enduring titles that emerged from his Midwestern childhood: ‘Dandelion Wine’ and ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes.’ ‘Fahrenheit 451,’ his classic cautionary tale of censorship and book burning, remains a perennial bestseller more than 60 years after publication.”

Eller’s illustrated presentation will focus on two intriguing questions: How did Ray Bradbury, a child of the Great Depression who never attended college, become one of the best-known American writers of his time? And why does this master storyteller of the 20th century remain a powerful cultural influence today?

The inaugural Bradbury Lecture falls during the author’s birthday week, and Eller plans to schedule subsequent lectures each August as Bradbury’s centennial year — 2020 — rapidly approaches.

Eller said, “He was born in 1920, when the Martian Canals of Percival Lowell and Edgar Rice Burroughs were still high in the American imagination; he passed away in 2012, just as the Curiosity Rover was about to land on Mars, at a site named in Ray Bradbury’s honor.” The center’s holdings include artifacts that have orbited the Earth, and Eller’s lecture will also assess the author’s lasting impact on the American space program.

The timing of the first Bradbury Lecture is especially significant. “Ray Bradbury Unbound,” the second volume of Eller’s three-volume study of Bradbury’s life and career, will be published by the University of Illinois Press in early September. At the same time, Kent State University Press will publish volume two of the Bradbury Center’s “Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury,” a series that recovers the seldom-seen original versions of Bradbury’s earliest published stories.

The Bradbury Lecture also kicks off a campaign to expand the Bradbury Center at IUPUI so that students, researchers and the general public can have better access to the archives and artifacts belonging to one of America’s premier storytellers.

The Bradbury Lecture is presented by the Indianapolis Public Library in conjunction with the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies. Parking for the Indianapolis Central Library is available via Pennsylvania Street in the library garage for a fee.

For more information about the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, call 317-274-2173 or visit the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies’ website.

Ray Bradbury biographer to present lecture in the humanities

Legendary American science-fiction and fantasy writer Ray Bradbury will be the subject of the 2012 John D. Barlow Lecture in the Humanities at IUPUI on Nov. 8.

“Becoming Ray Bradbury” author Jonathan R. Eller, professor of English and director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies in the Institute for American Thought, a research component of the IU School of Liberal Arts, will present the illustrated lecture, “Cry the Cosmos: Ray Bradbury and the American Imagination.”

The lecture will begin at 6:15 p.m. in the IUPUI Campus Center Theater, 420 University Blvd. A reception precedes the lecture in the Campus Center atrium at 5 p.m.

“For more than 60 years, Ray Bradbury has been one of the most recognized figures in American literature and popular culture,” Eller says. “Between 1950 and 1962, he captured the American imagination with such enduring titles as ‘The Martian Chronicles,’ ‘The Illustrated Man,’ ‘Fahrenheit 451,’ ‘The October Country,’ ‘Dandelion Wine’ and ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes.’ His increasing commitments to film, television and stage adaptations of his work led inevitably to his decline as a storywriter, but his early tales and media work soon combined to make him the nation’s most prominent public advocate of the Space Age — a role he fulfilled for the rest of his long life.”

Eller co-founded the Bradbury Center within the Institute for American Thought in 2007, and he became the center’s director in August 2011. He first met Ray Bradbury in 1989, eventually developing a working relationship that lasted until Bradbury’s death in June 2012. Since 2000, Eller has edited or co-edited several limited-press editions of Bradbury’s works, including “The Halloween Tree” (2005), “Dandelion Wine” (2007) and two collections of stories and precursors related to Bradbury’s publication of “Fahrenheit 451: Match to Flame” (2006) and “A Pleasure to Burn” (2010).

The IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI hosts the Barlow Lecture in the Humanities in honor of Liberal Arts Dean and Professor Emeritus John D. Barlow. The lecture is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. To RSVP, email LibaRSVP@iupui.edu with “Bradbury” in the subject line.

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