Fahrenheit 451

Publication history

The first U.S. printing was a paperback version from October 1953 by The Ballantine Publishing Group. Shortly after the paperback, a hardback version was released that included a special edition of 200 signed and numbered copies bound in asbestos.[45][46][47] These were technically collections because the novel was published with two short stories: "The Playground" and "And the Rock Cried Out", which have been absent in later printings.[1][48] A few months later, the novel was serialized in the March, April, and May 1954 issues of nascent Playboy magazine.[8][49]


Starting in January 1967, Fahrenheit 451 was subject to expurgation by its publisher, Ballantine Books with the release of the "Bal-Hi Edition" aimed at high school students.[50][51] Among the changes made by the publisher were the censorship of the words "hell", "damn", and "abortion"; the modification of seventy-five passages; and the changing of two episodes.[51][52] In the one case, a drunk man became a "sick man" while cleaning fluff out of a human navel became "cleaning ears" in the other.[51][53] For a while both the censored and uncensored versions were available concurrently but by 1973 Ballantine was publishing only the censored version.[53][54] This continued until 1979 when it came to Bradbury's attention:[53][54]

In 1979, one of Bradbury's friends showed him an expurgated copy. Bradbury demanded that Ballantine Books withdraw that version and replace it with the original, and in 1980 the original version once again became available. In this reinstated work, in the Author's Afterword, Bradbury relates to the reader that it is not uncommon for a publisher to expurgate an author's work, but he asserts that he himself will not tolerate the practice of manuscript "mutilation".

The "Bal-Hi" editions are now referred to by the publisher as the "Revised Bal-Hi" editions.[55]

Non-print publications

An audiobook version read by Bradbury himself was released in 1976 and received a Spoken Word Grammy nomination.[13] Another audiobook was released in 2005 narrated by Christopher Hurt.[56] The e-book version was released in December 2011.[57][58]

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