Kurt Vonnegut: Novels & Stories 1963-1973

Overview


Like Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) was a Midwestern everyman steeped in the rhythms of American speech whose anger at the way things are was matched only by his love for the best that we can be. His cunningly relaxed delivery was so original, so finely calibrated, and so profound an articulation of the Sixties' spirit that many critics overlooked the moral seriousness behind the standup-comic craftsmanship.
Capturing Vonnegut in pyrotechnic mid-career, this first volume...
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Overview


Like Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) was a Midwestern everyman steeped in the rhythms of American speech whose anger at the way things are was matched only by his love for the best that we can be. His cunningly relaxed delivery was so original, so finely calibrated, and so profound an articulation of the Sixties' spirit that many critics overlooked the moral seriousness behind the standup-comic craftsmanship.
Capturing Vonnegut in pyrotechnic mid-career, this first volume of a projected three-volume edition gathers four of his most acclaimed novels. Cat's Cradle (1963) is a comedy of the end of the world (it ends with ice). God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (1965) is the tale of a so-called fool, his money, and the lawyer who contrives to part them (it ends with fire). Slaughterhouse-Five (1969), Vonnegut's breakout book and one of the iconic masterpieces of twentieth-century American literature, is the tale of Billy Pilgrim, who, being unstuck in time, is doomed to continually relive both the firebombing of Dresden and his abduction by space aliens. And, in a text enhanced by the author's spirited line drawings, Breakfast of Champions (1973) describes the fateful meeting of "two lonesome, skinny, fairly old white men," one of whom disastrously believes that everyone else is a robot. The volume is rounded out with three brilliant short stories and revealing autobiographical accounts of the bombing of Dresden.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781598530988
  • Publisher: Library of America
  • Publication date: 6/2/2011
  • Pages: 848
  • Sales rank: 230,075
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut, one of the most acclaimed American writers of the past century, died in New York City on April 11, 2007. He was the New York Times bestselling author of fourteen novels, including such literary classics as Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat’s Cradle and God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. Penguin Group (USA) was fortunate to publish several of Mr. Vonnegut’s books, including the novels Timequake and Hocus Pocus as well as a collection of short fiction, Bagombo Snuff Box.

Biography

Born in 1922, Vonnegut grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. His architect father suffered great financial setbacks during the Depression and was unemployed for long stretches of time. His mother suffered from mental illness and eventually committed suicide in 1944, a trauma that haunted Vonnegut all his life. He attended Cornell in the early 1940s, but quit in order to enlist in the Army during WWII.

Vonnegut was shipped to Europe, fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and was captured behind enemy lines and incarcerated in a German prison camp. As a POW, he witnessed the firebombing of Dresden by Allied forces, an event of devastating magnitude that left an indelible impression on the young soldier.

After the war, Vonnegut returned home and married his high school sweetheart. In addition to two daughters and a son of their own, he and his first wife adopted three children orphaned in 1958 by the death of Vonnegut's sister Alice. (He and his second wife adopted another daughter.) The family lived in Chicago and Schenectady before settling in Cape Cod, where Vonnegut began to concentrate seriously on his writing. His first novel, the darkly dystopian Player Piano, was published in 1952 and met with moderate success. Three additional novels followed (including the critically acclaimed Cat's Cradle), but it was not until the publication of 1969's Slaughterhouse Five that Vonnegut achieved true literary stardom. Based on the author's wartime experiences in Dresden, the novel resonated powerfully in the social upheaval of the Vietnam era.

Although he is best known for his novels (a genre-blending mix of social satire, science fiction, surrealism, and black comedy), Vonnegut also wrote short fiction, essays, and plays (the best known of which was Happy Birthday, Wanda June). In addition, he was a talented graphic artist who illustrated many of his books and exhibited sporadically during his literary career. He died on April 11, 2007, after suffering irreversible brain injuries as a result of a fall.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Kurt Vonnegut
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 11, 1922
    2. Place of Birth:
      Indianapolis, Indiana
    1. Date of Death:
      April 11, 2007
    2. Place of Death:
      New York, New York

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