Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.: (vŏn´əgət) 1922–2007, American novelist, b. Indianapolis. After serving in a World War II combat unit, he worked as a police reporter. Marked by wry black humor, Vonnegut's satirical, pessimistic, and morally urgent novels often portray the world as a place of cruelty and indifference and frequently protest the horrors of the 20th cent., as in the best-selling Slaughterhouse-Five (1969; film, 1972), centered on the horrific firebombing of Dresden, which Vonnegut witnessed. His fiction spoke with particular forcefulness to the generation that came of age in the 1960s and 70s. Vonnegut's books frequently include elements of science fiction, featuring fantastic plots and sometimes involving such devices as trips in outer space, time faults, and apocalyptic destruction. Among his other novels are Player Piano (1952), Mother Night (1961; film, 1996), Cat's Cradle (1963), God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (1965), Breakfast of Champions (1973; film, 1999), Deadeye Dick (1983), Bluebeard (1987), and the novel-memoir Timequake (1997). He also wrote short stories, plays, and essays, e.g., the collections Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons (1974), The Man without a Country (2005), and the posthumously published Armageddon in Retrospect (2008).

See his semiautobiographical Fates Worse than Death (1991); W. R. Allen, ed., Conversations with Kurt Vonnegut (1988) and P. J. Reed and M. Leeds, Vonnegut Chronicles: Interviews and Essays (1996); D. Wakefield, ed., Kurt Vonnegut: Letters (2012); biography by C. J. Shields (2011); studies by P. J. Reed (1972 and 1997), S. Schatt (1976), J. Lundquist (1977), J. Klinkowitz (1982, 2004, and 2009), R. Merrill, ed. (1990), L. Mustazza (1990 and 1994), W. R. Allen (1991), D. E. Morse (1992 and 2003), H. Bloom, ed. (2000), K. A. Boon, ed. (2001), T. F. Marvin (2002), J. Tomedi (2004), and T. F. Davis (2006); M. Leeds, The Vonnegut Encyclopedia (1995).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Kurt Vonnegut: A Critical Companion
Thomas F. Marvin.
Greenwood Press, 2002
Kurt Vonnegut: Images and Representations
Marc Leeds; Peter J. Reed.
Greenwood Press, 2000
The Short Fiction of Kurt Vonnegut
Peter J. Reed.
Greenwood Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: This is a book of literary criticism
The Vonnegut Chronicles: Interviews and Essays
Peter J. Reed; Marc Leeds.
Greenwood Press, 1996
Vonnegut's Melancholy
Hume, Kathryn.
Philological Quarterly, Vol. 77, No. 2, Spring 1998
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Readings from the New Book on Nature: Physics and Metaphysics in the Modern Novel
Robert Nadeau.
University of Massachusetts Press, 1981
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Kurt Vonnegut, Jr."
The Nightmare Considered: Critical Essays on Nuclear War Literature
Nancy Anisfield.
Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1991
Librarian’s tip: "The Theme of Guilt in Vonnegut's Cataclysmic Novels" begins on p. 186
Popular Culture and the Expanding Consciousness
Ray B. Browne.
John Wiley & Sons, 1973
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 9 "Vonnegut's Otherworldly Laughter"
Decade of Novels: Fiction of the 1970s : Form and Challenge
Charles Berryman.
Whitston, 1990
Librarian’s tip: "1973 -- Kurt Vonnegut: Breakfast of Champions" begins on p. 45
Dionysus in Literature: Essays on Literary Madness
Branimir M. Rieger.
Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1994
Librarian’s tip: "Images of the Shaman in the Works of Kurt Vonnegut" begins on p. 197
Opposing Censorship in the Public Schools: Religion, Morality, and Literature
June Edwards.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Religion and Morality in Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut"
The Modern American Novel of Violence
Patrick W. Shaw.
Whitston, 2000
Librarian’s tip: "Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five" begins on p. 100
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