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Friday, August 21, 2009

Bradbury Manuscript Seen

Bradbury, Ray. "Watchful Poker Chip of M. Matisse, The" [Short Story]. TYPED MANUSCRIPT SIGNED (TMsS). 17 leaves of letter-size bond, typed on rectos only, signed by Bradbury on first leaf. The setting copy, with many minor edits in pencil, as well as typographical instructions. One of Bradbury's better-known stories, appearing first in Horace L. Gold's BEYOND in 1953, and collected in THE OCTOBER COUNTRY (1955). The story concerns a "terrifyingly ordinary man" named George Garvey, whose very banality makes him a camp darling of the avant garde -- but they watch in true horror as he unconsciously manifests one genuinely hip trend after another, the final phase being his decision to replace his body parts, one by one, for artistic objects: a bird cage in an artificial leg, a hand of jade and copper, and, most notably, a false eye consisting of a poker chip with an eye painted on it by Matisse. "Bradbury's target in this uncharacteristic excursion into cultural satire is trendy intellectualism, which finds itself always one step behind the ingenious banality of George Garvey, as he moves from campy nostalgia to florid romantic decadence." - Mogen, Ray Bradbury (1986), p. 55. It belongs to the period, from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s, that most critics consider Bradbury's most fruitful. On the front page is a pencil notation: "Vouchered 8/17/53 $400." Gold's BEYOND lasted for just ten bi-monthly issues from 1953-1955. Bradbury's story is a good example of the ironic tone that Gold preferred. A bit rumpled and smudged, with a ragged hole in upper right corners of each leaf from former brad binding, generally very good. (#128346)
Price: $4,500.00

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