So that was Kurt Vonnegut. All done.
I’m glad we got him. He was good.
My wife wrote a paper on Kurt Vonnegut when she was at Boston College. The faculty resisted heavily because Kurt Vonnegut was considered a “popular” author – and a writer of science fiction, heavens forbid – and so beneath academic study. But she won out.
I haven’t read as much Kurt Vonnegut as I should – another peculiar result of my tendency toward avoiding things that I know will make me happier. But I will. I will read more. I will read “Slaughterhouse Five” (1969), for example. I remember “Slaughterhouse Five” sitting on desks of friends in high school. I think they must have been reading it for a class. Very enlightened high school I went to.
I read “Cat’s Cradle” (1963) and “The Sirens Of Titan” (1959) a couple years back. They were fascinating and very, very funny. Reading them, I had the suspicion I was being distracted by a first-rate entertainment, so the writer could, in the meantime, perform some fine-tuning of my mental and spiritual state.
Certainly, Vonnegut’s service during WWII, and his first-hand experience of the bombing of Dresden and its aftermath, are key influences in any study of his work and absurist point of view. Perhaps experiencing such horror first-hand produces an understanding that the most vital things must never be approached with an attitude of gravity:
“Who am I to shade this staggering moment with so light and shallow brow!”