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Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (; November 11, 1922 – April 11, 2007) was an American writer. In a career spanning over 50 years, he published 14 novels, three short story collections, five plays, and five nonfiction works, with further collections being published after his death. Born and raised in
Indianapolis Indianapolis (), colloquially known as Indy, is the List of U.S. state and territorial capitals, state capital and List of U.S. states' largest cities by population, most-populous city of the U.S. state of Indiana and the county seat, seat of ...

Indianapolis
, Vonnegut attended
Cornell University Cornell University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two ...
but withdrew in January 1943 and enlisted in the
U.S. Army The United States Army (USA) is the land Land is the solid surface of Earth that is not permanently submerged in water. Most but not all land is situated at elevations above sea level (variable over geologic time frames) and consists ma ...
. As part of his training, he studied mechanical engineering at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now
Carnegie Mellon University Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence ...
) and the
University of Tennessee The University of Tennessee (University of Tennessee, Knoxville; UT Knoxville; UTK; or UT) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organ ...
. He was then deployed to Europe to fight in
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
and was captured by the Germans during the
Battle of the Bulge The Battle of the Bulge, also known as the Ardennes Counteroffensive, was a major German offensive Offensive may refer to: * Offensive, the former name of the Dutch political party Socialist Alternative (Netherlands), Socialist Alternative * ...

Battle of the Bulge
. He was interned in
Dresden Dresden (, ; wen, label=Sorbian languages, Upper and Lower Sorbian, Drježdźany) is the capital city of the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony and its second most populous city, after Leipzig. It is the List of cities in German ...

Dresden
, where he survived the Allied bombing of the city in a meat locker of the slaughterhouse where he was imprisoned. After the war, he married Jane Marie Cox, with whom he had three children. He adopted his nephews after his sister died of cancer and her husband was killed in a train accident. He and his wife both attended the
University of Chicago The University of Chicago (UChicago) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an abse ...
, while he worked as a night reporter for the City News Bureau. Vonnegut published his first novel, ''
Player Piano A player piano (also known as a pianola) is a self-playing piano The piano is an acoustic Acoustic may refer to: Music Albums * Acoustic (Bayside EP), ''Acoustic'' (Bayside EP) * Acoustic (Britt Nicole EP), ''Acoustic'' (Britt Nicol ...
'', in 1952. The novel was reviewed positively but was not commercially successful at the time. In the nearly 20 years that followed, he published several novels that were well regarded, two of which (''
The Sirens of Titan ''The Sirens of Titan'' is a comic science fiction novel by Kurt Vonnegut, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., first 1959 in literature, published in 1959. His second novel, it involves issues of free will, omniscience, and the overall purpose of human history. Mu ...
''
959 Year 959 ( CMLIX) was a common year starting on Saturday A common year starting on Saturday is any non-leap year A leap year (also known as an intercalary year or wikt:bissextile, bissextile year) is a calendar year that contains an additi ...
and ''
Cat's Cradle ''Cat's Cradle'' is a satirical Satire is a genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it no ...
''
963 Year 963 ( CMLXIII) was a common year starting on Thursday A common year starting on Thursday is any non-leap year A leap year (also known as an intercalary year or wikt:bissextile, bissextile year) is a calendar year that contains an addi ...
were nominated for the
Hugo Award The Hugo Award is an annual literary award for the best science fiction Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a genre of speculative fiction which typically deals with imagination, imaginative and futuristic concepts su ...
for best novel. He published a short story collection titled ''
Welcome to the Monkey House ''Welcome to the Monkey House'' is a collection of 25 short stories A short story is a piece of prose fiction that typically can be read in one sitting and focuses on a self-contained incident or series of linked incidents, with the intent of e ...
'' in 1968. His breakthrough was his commercially and critically successful sixth novel, ''
Slaughterhouse-Five ''Slaughterhouse-Five, or, The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death'' is a science fiction Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a genre of speculative fiction which typically deals with imagination, imaginative ...
'' (1969). The book's anti-war sentiment resonated with its readers amidst the ongoing
Vietnam War {{Infobox military conflict , conflict = Vietnam War , partof = the Indochina Wars The Indochina Wars ( vi, Chiến tranh Đông Dương) were a series of wars fought in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled ...
and its reviews were generally positive. After its release, ''Slaughterhouse-Five'' went to the top of ''The New York Times'' Best Seller list, thrusting Vonnegut into fame. He was invited to give speeches, lectures, and commencement addresses around the country, and received many awards and honors. Later in his career, Vonnegut published several autobiographical essays and short-story collections, such as ''
Fates Worse Than Death ''Fates Worse than Death'', subtitled ''An Autobiographical Collage of the 1980s'', is a 1991 collection of essays, speeches, and other previously uncollected writings by author Kurt Vonnegut Jr. In the introduction to the book, Vonnegut acknowle ...
'' (1991) and '' A Man Without a Country'' (2005). After his death, he was hailed as one of the most important contemporary writers and a
dark humor Black comedy, also known as black humor, dark humor, dark comedy, morbid humor, or gallows humor, is a style of comedy Comedy (from the el, κωμῳδία, ''kōmōdía'') is a genre of fiction that consists of discourses or works inten ...
commentator on American society. His son
Mark Mark may refer to: Currency * Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark The Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark (Bosnian Bosnian may refer to: *Anything related to the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina or its inhabitants *Anything related to Bo ...
published a compilation of his unpublished works, titled ''
Armageddon in Retrospect ''Armageddon in Retrospect'' is a collection of short stories and essays about war and peace written by Kurt Vonnegut. It is the first posthumous collection of his previously unpublished writings. The book includes an introduction by Mark Vonneg ...
'', in 2008. In 2017,
Seven Stories Press Seven Stories Press is an independent American publishing company. Based in New York City, the company was founded by Dan Simon in 1995, after establishing Four Walls Eight Windows in 1984 as an imprint at Writers and Readers, and then incorpora ...
published ''Complete Stories'', a collection of Vonnegut's short fiction, including five previously unpublished stories. ''Complete Stories'' was collected and introduced by Vonnegut friends and scholars Jerome Klinkowitz and
Dan Wakefield Dan Wakefield (born 1932) is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the ...
. Numerous scholarly works have examined Vonnegut's writing and humor.


Biography


Family and early life

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. was born in
Indianapolis Indianapolis (), colloquially known as Indy, is the List of U.S. state and territorial capitals, state capital and List of U.S. states' largest cities by population, most-populous city of the U.S. state of Indiana and the county seat, seat of ...

Indianapolis
on November 11, 1922, the youngest of three children of Kurt Vonnegut Sr. and his wife Edith (née Lieber). His older siblings were
Bernard Bernard (''Bernhard Bernhard is both a given name and a surname. Notable people with the name include: Given name *Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar (1604–1639), Duke of Saxe-Weimar *Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld (1911–2004), Prince Consort o ...
(born 1914) and Alice (born 1917). He was descended from German immigrants who settled in the United States in the mid-19th century; his paternal great-grandfather,
Clemens Vonnegut Clemens Vonnegut Sr. (November 20, 1824 – December 13, 1906) was a German emigrant to the United States and successful businessman. He was the patriarch of the prominent German-American Vonnegut clan (later Schnull-Vonnegut) of Indiana ...
, settled in Indianapolis and founded the
Vonnegut Hardware Company The Vonnegut Hardware Company was an Indianapolis hardware store that operated from 1852 to 1965. It was founded by Clemens Vonnegut, Sr., a German former textile ribbon salesman from Amsterdam, who arrived in Indianapolis around 1851. Indianapo ...

Vonnegut Hardware Company
. His father and grandfather
Bernard Bernard (''Bernhard Bernhard is both a given name and a surname. Notable people with the name include: Given name *Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar (1604–1639), Duke of Saxe-Weimar *Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld (1911–2004), Prince Consort o ...
were architects; the architecture firm under Kurt Sr. designed such buildings as
Das Deutsche Haus
Das Deutsche Haus
(now called "The Athenæum"), the Indiana headquarters of the
Bell Telephone Company The Bell Telephone Company, a common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinion ...

Bell Telephone Company
, and the
Fletcher Trust Building Fletcher Trust Building, officially known as the Hilton Garden Inn Indianapolis Downtown, is a hotel high-rise in Indianapolis, Indiana, Indianapolis, Indiana. The building rises 16 Storey, floors and in height, and is currently the 22nd-tallest b ...
. Vonnegut's mother was born into Indianapolis high society, as her family, the Liebers, were among the wealthiest in the city with their fortune deriving from ownership of a successful brewery. Both of Vonnegut's parents were fluent German speakers, but the ill feeling toward Germany during and after
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
caused them to abandon German culture in order to show their American patriotism. Thus, they did not teach Vonnegut to speak German or introduce him to German literature and traditions, leaving him feeling "ignorant and rootless".; Vonnegut later credited Ida Young, his family's African-American cook and housekeeper during the first decade of his life, for raising him and giving him values; he said that she "gave decent moral instruction and was exceedingly nice to " and "was as great an influence on as anybody". He described her as "humane and wise" and added that "the compassionate, forgiving aspects of beliefs" came from her. The financial security and social prosperity that the Vonneguts had once enjoyed were destroyed in a matter of years. The Liebers' brewery was closed in 1921 after the advent of
prohibition Prohibition is the act or practice of forbidding something by law; more particularly the term refers to the banning of the manufacture Manufacturing is the production of goods In economics Economics () is the social science that st ...
. When the
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression An economic depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a economic recession, recess ...
hit, few people could afford to build, causing clients at Kurt Sr.'s architectural firm to become scarce. Vonnegut's brother and sister had finished their primary and secondary educations in
private school Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United ...
s, but Vonnegut was placed in a public school called Public School No. 43 (now the
James Whitcomb Riley James Whitcomb Riley (October 7, 1849 – July 22, 1916) was an American writer, poet, and best-selling author. During his lifetime he was known as the "Hoosier Hoosier is the official demonym A demonym (; from Ancient Greek Anci ...

James Whitcomb Riley
School). He was bothered by the Great Depression, and both his parents were affected deeply by their economic misfortune. His father withdrew from normal life and became what Vonnegut called a "dreamy artist".; His mother became depressed, withdrawn, bitter, and abusive. She labored to regain the family's wealth and status, and Vonnegut said that she expressed hatred for her husband that was "as corrosive as
hydrochloric acid Hydrochloric acid +(aq) Cl−(aq) or H3O+ Cl− also known as muriatic acid, is an aqueous solution An aqueous solution is a solution Solution may refer to: * Solution (chemistry) Image:SaltInWaterSolutionLiquid.jpg, upMaking a salin ...

hydrochloric acid
". She unsuccessfully tried to sell short stories she had written to ''
Collier's ''Collier's'' was an American general interest magazine A magazine is a periodical publication Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of serial publications that appear in a ne ...
'', ''
The Saturday Evening Post ''The Saturday Evening Post'' is an American magazine A magazine is a periodical publication Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of serial Serial may refer to: Arts, enterta ...
'', and other magazines.


High school and Cornell

Vonnegut enrolled at
Shortridge High School Shortridge High School is a public high school located in Indianapolis, Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. Originally known as Indianapolis High School, it opened in 1864 and is Indiana's oldest free public high school. Shortridge is the home o ...

Shortridge High School
in Indianapolis in 1936. While there, he played
clarinet The clarinet is a family of woodwind instrument Woodwind instruments are a family of musical instruments A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be cons ...

clarinet
in the school band and became a co-editor (along with
Madelyn Pugh Madelyn Pugh (March 15, 1921 – April 20, 2011), sometimes credited as Madelyn Pugh Davis, Madelyn Davis, or Madelyn Martin, was a television writer who became known in the 1950s for her work on the ''I Love Lucy'' television series. Early ...
) for the Tuesday edition of the school newspaper, ''The Shortridge Echo''. Vonnegut said his tenure with the ''Echo'' allowed him to write for a large audience—his fellow students—rather than for a teacher, an experience he said was "fun and easy". "It just turned out that I could write better than a lot of other people," Vonnegut observed. "Each person has something he can do easily and can't imagine why everybody else has so much trouble doing it." After graduating from Shortridge in 1940, Vonnegut enrolled at
Cornell University Cornell University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two ...
in
Ithaca, New York Ithaca is a city and college town A college town or university town is a community (often a separate town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criter ...
. He wanted to study the
humanities Humanities are academic disciplines An academic discipline or academic field is a subdivision of knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. ...

humanities
or become an architect like his father, but his father and brother Bernard, an atmospheric scientist, urged him to study a "useful" discipline.; As a result, Vonnegut majored in
biochemistry Biochemistry or biological chemistry, is the study of chemical process In a scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and pr ...

biochemistry
, but he had little proficiency in the area and was indifferent towards his studies. As his father had been a member at
MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private land-grant research university A research university is a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of higher education, hi ...

MIT
, Vonnegut was entitled to join the
Delta Upsilon Delta Upsilon (), commonly known as DU, is a collegiate men's fraternity founded on November 4, 1834 at Williams College Williams College is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third si ...
fraternity, and did. He overcame stiff competition for a place at the university's independent newspaper, ''
The Cornell Daily Sun ''The Cornell Daily Sun'' is an independent daily newspaper published in Ithaca, New York by students at Cornell University and hired employees. ''The Sun'' features coverage of the university and its environs as well as stories from the Associa ...
'', first serving as a
staff writer In journalism Journalism is the production and distribution of report Image:Hurt Report cover page.png, 220px, Example of a front page of a report A report is a document that presents information in an organized format for a specific audien ...
, then as an editor. By the end of his first year, he was writing a column titled "Innocents Abroad" which reused jokes from other publications. He later penned a piece, "Well All Right," focusing on
pacifism Pacifism is the opposition or resistance to war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...
, a cause he strongly supported, arguing against U.S. intervention in World War II.


World War II

The
attack on Pearl Harbor The Attack on Pearl HarborAlso known as the Battle of Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike In the United States Armed Forces, military of the United States, strikes and raids are a group of military operations that, alongside quite ...

attack on Pearl Harbor
brought the U.S. into the war. Vonnegut was a member of
Reserve Officers' Training Corps The Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) is a group of college A college (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communi ...
, but poor grades and a satirical article in Cornell's newspaper cost him his place there. He was placed on academic probation in May 1942 and dropped out the following January. No longer eligible for a deferment as a member of ROTC, he faced likely
conscription Conscription, sometimes called the draft in the United States, is the mandatory enlistment of people in a national service National service is a system of either compulsory or voluntary government service, usually military service Mili ...
into the
United States Army The United States Army (USA) is the land Land is the solid surface of Earth that is not permanently submerged in water. Most but not all land is situated at elevations above sea level (variable over geologic time frames) and consists ma ...
. Instead of waiting to be drafted, he enlisted in the Army and in March 1943 reported to
Fort Bragg Fort Bragg, North Carolina, is a military installation A military base is a facility directly owned and operated by or for the military or one of its branches that shelters military equipment and personnel, and facilitates training and Milita ...

Fort Bragg
, North Carolina, for basic training. Vonnegut was trained to fire and maintain
howitzer A howitzer () is generally a large ranged weapon A ranged weapon is any weapon A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or device that can be used with the intent to inflict physical damage or harm. Weapons are used to increase the ef ...

howitzer
s and later received instruction in
mechanical engineering Mechanical engineering is an engineering Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The discipline of engineerin ...

mechanical engineering
at the
Carnegie Institute of Technology Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence ...
and the
University of Tennessee The University of Tennessee (University of Tennessee, Knoxville; UT Knoxville; UTK; or UT) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organ ...
as part of the
Army Specialized Training Program The Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) was a military training program instituted by the United States Army during World War II to meet wartime demands both for junior officers and soldiers with technical skills. Conducted at 227 American un ...
(ASTP).; In early 1944, the ASTP was canceled due to the Army's need for soldiers to support the D-Day invasion, and Vonnegut was ordered to an infantry battalion at
Camp Atterbury Camp Atterbury, located in south-central Indiana Indiana () is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern United States. It is the List of U.S. states and territories by area, 38th-largest by area and the List of U.S. stat ...
, south of Indianapolis in
Edinburgh, Indiana :''Alternative meanings at Edinburgh (disambiguation).'' Edinburgh is a town in Bartholomew Bartholomew (Aramaic Aramaic ( Classical Syriac: ''Arāmāyā''; Old Aramaic: ; Imperial Aramaic: ; square script ) is a language that origin ...

Edinburgh, Indiana
, where he trained as a scout. He lived so close to his home that he was "able to sleep in own bedroom and use the family car on weekends". On May 14, 1944, Vonnegut returned home on leave for
Mother's Day Mother's Day is a celebration honoring the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. It is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, most commonly in the months of March ...
weekend to discover that his mother had committed suicide the previous night by overdosing on sleeping pills.; Possible factors that contributed to Edith Vonnegut's suicide include the family's loss of wealth and status, Vonnegut's forthcoming deployment overseas, and her own lack of success as a writer. She was
inebriated Alcohol intoxication, also known as drunkenness or alcohol poisoning, is the negative behavior and physical effects caused by a recent consumption of alcohol File:Alcohol general.svg, upright=0.8, The bond angle between a hydroxyl group (-OH ...

inebriated
at the time and under the influence of prescription drugs. Three months after his mother's suicide, Vonnegut was sent to Europe as an intelligence scout with the 106th Infantry Division. In December 1944, he fought in the
Battle of the Bulge The Battle of the Bulge, also known as the Ardennes Counteroffensive, was a major German offensive Offensive may refer to: * Offensive, the former name of the Dutch political party Socialist Alternative (Netherlands), Socialist Alternative * ...

Battle of the Bulge
, the final German offensive of the war. During the battle, the 106th Infantry Division, which had only recently reached the front and was assigned to a "quiet" sector due to its inexperience, was overrun by advancing German armored forces. Over 500 members of the division were killed and over 6,000 were captured. On December 22, Vonnegut was captured with about 50 other American soldiers.; Vonnegut was taken by
boxcar A boxcar is the North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical region ...

boxcar
to a prison camp south of
Dresden Dresden (, ; wen, label=Sorbian languages, Upper and Lower Sorbian, Drježdźany) is the capital city of the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony and its second most populous city, after Leipzig. It is the List of cities in German ...

Dresden
, in
Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; Upper Saxon Upper Saxon (german: Obersächsisch, ; ) is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part o ...

Saxony
. During the journey, the Royal Air Force mistakenly attacked the trains carrying Vonnegut and his fellow
prisoners of war A prisoner of war (POW) is a non-combatant Non-combatant is a term of art Jargon is the specialized terminology associated with a particular field or area of activity. Jargon is normally employed in a particular Context (language use), co ...
, killing about 150 of them. Vonnegut was sent to Dresden, the "first fancy city
e had E, or e, is the fifth Letter (alphabet), letter and the second vowel#Written vowels, vowel letter in the English alphabet, modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet. Its name in English is English alphabet#Letter names, ''e'' ( ...
ever seen". He lived in a slaughterhouse when he got to the city, and worked in a factory that made
malt syrup Barley malt syrup is an unrefined sweetener This list of unrefined sweeteners includes all natural, unrefined, or low-processed sweetener A sugar substitute is a food additive that provides a sweetness, sweet taste like that of sugar while c ...

malt syrup
for pregnant women. Vonnegut recalled the sirens going off whenever another city was bombed. The Germans did not expect Dresden to be bombed, Vonnegut said. "There were very few air-raid shelters in town and no war industries, just cigarette factories, hospitals, clarinet factories." On February 13, 1945, Dresden became the target of Allied forces. In the hours and days that followed, the Allies engaged in a fierce firebombing of the city. The offensive subsided on February 15, with around 25,000 civilians killed in the bombing. Vonnegut marveled at the level of both the destruction in Dresden and the secrecy that attended it. He had survived by taking refuge in a meat locker three stories underground. "It was cool there, with cadavers hanging all around", Vonnegut said. "When we came up the city was gone ... They burnt the whole damn town down." Vonnegut and other American prisoners were put to work immediately after the bombing, excavating bodies from the rubble. He described the activity as a "terribly elaborate Easter-egg hunt". The American POWs were evacuated on foot to the border of Saxony and
Czechoslovakia , , yi, טשעכאסלאוואקיי, , common_name = Czechoslovakia , life_span = 1918–19391945–1992 , p1 = Austria-Hungary , image_p1 = , s1 = Czech Re ...

Czechoslovakia
after US General
George S. Patton George Smith Patton Jr. (November 11, 1885 – December 21, 1945) was a general A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines Marines or naval infantry, are ty ...

George S. Patton
captured
Leipzig Leipzig (, ; Upper Saxon: ) is the most populous city in the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony. With a population of 605,407 inhabitants as of 2021 (1.1 million residents in the larger urban zone), it surpasses the Saxon c ...

Leipzig
. With the captives abandoned by their guards, Vonnegut reached a prisoner-of-war repatriation camp in
Le Havre Le Havre (, ; nrf, Lé Hâvre) is an urban French commune A commune is an intentional community of people sharing living spaces, interests, values, beliefs, and often property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abstract and co ...

Le Havre
, France, before the end of May 1945, with the aid of the Soviets. He returned to the United States and continued to serve in the Army, stationed at
Fort Riley Fort Riley is a United States Army installation Installation may refer to: * Installation (computer programs) * Installation, work of installation art * Installation, military base * Installation, into an office, especially a religious (Install ...
,
Kansas Kansas () is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern United States. Its Capital city, capital is Topeka and its largest city is Wichita, Kansas, Wichita. Kansas is a landlocked state bordered by Nebraska to the north; ...

Kansas
, typing discharge papers for other soldiers. Soon after he was awarded a
Purple Heart The Purple Heart (PH) is a Awards and decorations of the United States military, United States military decoration awarded in the name of the President of the United States, President to those wounded or killed while serving, on or after April ...

Purple Heart
, about which he remarked: "I myself was awarded my country's second-lowest decoration, a Purple Heart for frost-bite." He was discharged from the U.S. Army and returned to Indianapolis.


Marriage, University of Chicago, and early employment

After he returned to the United States, 22-year-old Vonnegut married Jane Marie Cox, his high school girlfriend and classmate since kindergarten, on September 1, 1945. The pair relocated to Chicago; there, Vonnegut enrolled in the
University of Chicago The University of Chicago (UChicago) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an abse ...
on the
G.I. Bill The Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, commonly known as the G.I. Bill, was a law that provided a range of benefits for some of the returning World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, ...
, as an
anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, ...
student in an unusual five-year joint undergraduate/graduate program that conferred a
master's degree A master's degree (from Latin ) is an academic degree awarded by University, universities or colleges upon completion of a course of study demonstrating mastery or a high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of Profession, professio ...
. He augmented his income by working as a reporter for the
City News Bureau of Chicago City News Bureau of Chicago (CNB), or City Press (1890-2005), was a news bureau A news bureau is an office for gathering or distributing news. Similar terms are used for specialized bureaus, often to indicate geographic location or scope of coverag ...
at night. Jane accepted a scholarship from the university to study
Russian literature Russian literature refers to the literature of Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent ...
as a graduate student. Jane dropped out of the program after becoming pregnant with the couple's first child,
Mark Mark may refer to: Currency * Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark The Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark (Bosnian Bosnian may refer to: *Anything related to the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina or its inhabitants *Anything related to Bo ...
(born May 1947), while Kurt also left the university without any degree (despite having completed his undergraduate education) when his master's thesis on the
Ghost Dance The Ghost Dance (Caddo The Caddo Nation is a confederacy of several Southeastern Native American tribes. Their ancestors historically inhabited much of what is now East Texas East Texas is a distinct cultural, geographic, and ecological ...

Ghost Dance
religious movement was unanimously rejected by the department. Shortly thereafter,
General Electric General Electric Company (GE) is an American Multinational corporation, multinational Conglomerate (company), conglomerate incorporated in New York State and headquartered in Boston. Until 2021, the company operated through GE Aviation, aviat ...
(GE) hired Vonnegut as a technical writer, then publicist, for the company's
Schenectady, New York Schenectady () is a city A city is a large .Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It can be de ...
, research laboratory. Although his work required a college degree, Vonnegut was hired after claiming to hold a master's degree in anthropology from the University of Chicago. His brother Bernard had worked at GE since 1945, contributing significantly to an
iodine Iodine is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical ele ...

iodine
-based
cloud seeding Cloud seeding is a type of weather modification Weather modification (also known as weather control) is the act of intentionally manipulating or altering the weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere, describing for example the ...
project. In 1949, Kurt and Jane had a daughter named
Edith Edith is a feminine given name A given name (also known as a first name or forename) is the part of a personal name A personal name, or full name, in onomastic Onomastics or onomatology is the study of the etymology, history, and u ...
. Still working for GE, Vonnegut had his first piece, titled "
Report on the Barnhouse Effect "Report on the Barnhouse Effect" is the first short story A short story is a piece of prose Prose is a form of written or spoken language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', ...
," published in the February 11, 1950 issue of ''Collier's'', for which he received $750. Vonnegut wrote another story, after being coached by the fiction editor at ''Collier's'', Knox Burger, and again sold it to the magazine, this time for $950. While Burger supported Vonnegut's writing, he was shocked when Vonnegut quit GE as of January 1, 1951, later stating: "I never said he should give up his job and devote himself to fiction. I don't trust the freelancer's life, it's tough." Nevertheless, in early 1951 Vonnegut moved with his family to
Cape Cod, Massachusetts Cape Cod is a cape (geography), geographic cape extending into the Atlantic Ocean from the southeastern corner of mainland Massachusetts, in the northeastern United States. Its historic, maritime character and ample beaches attract heavy touri ...
, to write full time, leaving GE behind.


First novel

In 1952, Vonnegut's first novel, ''
Player Piano A player piano (also known as a pianola) is a self-playing piano The piano is an acoustic Acoustic may refer to: Music Albums * Acoustic (Bayside EP), ''Acoustic'' (Bayside EP) * Acoustic (Britt Nicole EP), ''Acoustic'' (Britt Nicol ...
'', was published by
Scribner's Charles Scribner's Sons, or simply Scribner's or Scribner, is an American publisher based in New York City, known for publishing American authors including Henry James, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Kurt Vonnegut, Marjorie Kinnan Rawli ...
. The novel has a post-Third World War setting, in which factory workers have been replaced by machines. ''Player Piano'' draws upon Vonnegut's experience as an employee at GE. He satirizes the drive to climb the corporate ladder, one that in ''Player Piano'' is rapidly disappearing as automation increases, putting even executives out of work. His central character, Paul Proteus, has an ambitious wife, a backstabbing assistant, and a feeling of empathy for the poor. Sent by his boss, Kroner, as a double agent among the poor (who have all the material goods they want, but little sense of purpose), he leads them in a machine-smashing, museum-burning revolution. ''Player Piano'' expresses Vonnegut's opposition to
McCarthyism McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of subversion and treason, especially when related to communism and socialism. The term originally referred to the controversial practices and policies of U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy (Republica ...
, something made clear when the Ghost Shirts, the revolutionary organization Paul penetrates and eventually leads, is referred to by one character as "
fellow travelers The term ''fellow traveller'' (also ''fellow traveler'') identifies a person who is intellectually sympathetic to the ideology of a political organization, and who co-operates in the organization's politics, without being a formal member of that or ...
". In ''Player Piano'', Vonnegut originates many of the techniques he would use in his later works. The comic, heavy-drinking Shah of Bratpuhr, an outsider to this dystopian corporate United States, is able to ask many questions that an insider would not think to ask, or would cause offense by doing so. For example, when taken to see the artificially intelligent supercomputer EPICAC, the Shah asks it "what are people for?" and receives no answer. Speaking for Vonnegut, he dismisses it as a "false god". This type of alien visitor would recur throughout Vonnegut's literature. ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' is an American daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership. Founded in 1851, the ''Times'' has since won List of Pulitzer Prizes awarded to The New York Times, 132 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of a ...

The New York Times
'' writer and critic
Granville Hicks Granville Hicks (September 9, 1901 – June 18, 1982) was an American Marxist and, later, anti-Marxist novelist, literary critic, educator, and editor. Early life Granville Hicks was born September 9, 1901, in Exeter, New Hampshire, to Frank Steven ...
gave ''Player Piano'' a positive review, favorably comparing it to
Aldous Huxley Aldous Leonard Huxley (26 July 1894 – 22 November 1963) was an English writer and philosopher. He wrote nearly 50 books—both novels and non-fiction works—as well as wide-ranging essays, narratives, and poems. Born into the prominent Huxl ...

Aldous Huxley
's ''
Brave New World ''Brave New World'' is a dystopian A dystopia (from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Age ...

Brave New World
''. Hicks called Vonnegut a "sharp-eyed satirist". None of the reviewers considered the novel particularly important. Several editions were printed—one by
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with the title ''Utopia 14'', and another by the Doubleday Science Fiction Book Club—whereby Vonnegut gained the repute of a
science fiction Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a genre of speculative fiction which typically deals with imagination, imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, space exploration, time travel, Parall ...

science fiction
writer, a genre held in disdain by writers at that time. He defended the genre, and deplored a perceived sentiment that "no one can simultaneously be a respectable writer and understand how a refrigerator works."; ;


Struggling writer

After ''Player Piano'', Vonnegut continued to sell short stories to various magazines. Contracted to produce a second novel (which eventually became ''Cat's Cradle''), he struggled to complete it and the work languished for years. In 1954 the couple had a third child, Nanette. With a growing family and no financially successful novels yet, Vonnegut's short stories helped to sustain the family, though he frequently needed to find additional sources of income as well. In 1957, he and a partner opened a
Saab automobile Saab Automobile AB () is a defunct automotive industry, car manufacturer that was founded in Sweden in 1945 when its parent company, Saab AB, began a project to design a small automobile. The first production model, the Saab 92, was launched i ...
dealership on Cape Cod, but it went bankrupt by the end of the year. In 1958, his sister, Alice, died of cancer two days after her husband, James Carmalt Adams, was killed in a train accident. The Vonneguts took in three of the Adams' young sons—James, Steven, and Kurt, aged 14, 11, and 9, respectively. A fourth Adams son, Peter (2), also stayed with the Vonneguts for about a year before being given to the care of a paternal relative in Georgia. Grappling with family challenges, Vonnegut continued to write, publishing novels vastly dissimilar in terms of plot. ''
The Sirens of Titan ''The Sirens of Titan'' is a comic science fiction novel by Kurt Vonnegut, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., first 1959 in literature, published in 1959. His second novel, it involves issues of free will, omniscience, and the overall purpose of human history. Mu ...
'' (1959) features a Martian invasion of Earth, as experienced by a bored billionaire, Malachi Constant. He meets Winston Rumfoord, an aristocratic space traveler, who is virtually omniscient but stuck in a time warp that allows him to appear on Earth every 59 days. The billionaire learns that his actions and the events of all of history are determined by a race of robotic aliens from the planet
Tralfamadore Tralfamadore is the name of several fictional planets in the novels of Kurt Vonnegut Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (; November 11, 1922 – April 11, 2007) was an American writer. In a career spanning over 50 years, he published 14 novels, three short sto ...
, who need a replacement part that can only be produced by an advanced civilization in order to repair their spaceship and return home—human history has been manipulated to produce it. Some human structures, such as
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, are coded signals from the aliens to their ship as to how long it may expect to wait for the repair to take place. Reviewers were uncertain what to think of the book, with one comparing it to Offenbach's opera ''
The Tales of Hoffmann ''The Tales of Hoffmann'' (French: ) is an by Jacques Offenbach Offenbach in the 1860s Jacques Offenbach (, also , , ; 20 June 18195 October 1880) was a German-born French composer, cellist and impresario An impresario (from the Italian ' ...
''. Rumfoord, who is based on
Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin Delano Roosevelt (, ; January 30, 1882April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A member of the De ...

Franklin D. Roosevelt
, also physically resembles the former president. Rumfoord is described, "he put a cigarette in a long, bone cigarette holder, lighted it. He thrust out his jaw. The cigarette holder pointed straight up." William Rodney Allen, in his guide to Vonnegut's works, stated that Rumfoord foreshadowed the fictional political figures who would play major roles in ''God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater'' and ''Jailbird''. ''Mother Night'', published in 1961, received little attention at the time of its publication. Howard W. Campbell Jr., Vonnegut's protagonist, is an American who is raised in Germany from age 11 and joins the Nazi party during the war as a double agent for the U.S. Office of Strategic Services, and rises to the regime's highest ranks as a radio propagandist. After the war, the spy agency refuses to clear his name and he is eventually imprisoned by the Israelis in the same cell block as Adolf Eichmann, and later commits suicide. Vonnegut wrote in a foreword to a later edition, "we are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be". Literary critic Lawrence Berkove considered the novel, like Mark Twain's ''Adventures of Huckleberry Finn'', to illustrate the tendency for "impersonators to get carried away by their impersonations, to become what they impersonate and therefore to live in a world of illusion". Also published in 1961 was Vonnegut's short story, "Harrison Bergeron", set in a dystopic future where all are equal, even if that means disfiguring beautiful people and forcing the strong or intelligent to wear devices that negate their advantages. Fourteen-year-old Harrison is a genius and athlete forced to wear record-level "handicaps" and imprisoned for attempting to overthrow the government. He escapes to a television studio, tears away his handicaps, and frees a ballerina from her lead weights. As they dance, they are killed by the Handicapper General, Diana Moon Glampers. Vonnegut, in a later letter, suggested that "Harrison Bergeron" might have sprung from his envy and self-pity as a high school misfit. In his 1976 biography of Vonnegut, Stanley Schatt suggested that the short story shows "in any leveling process, what really is lost, according to Vonnegut, is beauty, grace, and wisdom". Darryl Hattenhauer, in his 1998 journal article on "Harrison Bergeron", theorized that the story was a satire on American Cold War misunderstandings of communism and socialism. With ''
Cat's Cradle ''Cat's Cradle'' is a satirical Satire is a genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it no ...
'' (1963), Allen wrote, "Vonnegut hit full stride for the first time". The narrator, John, intends to write of Dr. Felix Hoenikker, one of the fictional fathers of the atomic bomb, seeking to cover the scientist's human side. Hoenikker, in addition to the bomb, has developed another threat to mankind, ice-nine, solid water stable at room temperature, and if a particle of it is dropped in water, all of it becomes ice-nine. Much of the second half of the book is spent on the fictional Caribbean island of San Lorenzo, where John explores a religion called Bokononism, whose holy books (excerpts from which are quoted) give the novel the moral core science does not supply. After the oceans are converted to ice-nine, wiping out most of humankind, John wanders the frozen surface, seeking to have himself and his story survive. Vonnegut based the title character of ''God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater'' (1964), on an accountant he knew on Cape Cod, who specialized in clients in trouble and often had to comfort them. Eliot Rosewater, the wealthy son of a Republican senator, seeks to atone for his wartime killing of noncombatant firefighters by serving in a volunteer fire department, and by giving away money to those in trouble or need. Stress from a battle for control of his charitable foundation pushes him over the edge, and he is placed in a mental hospital. He recovers, and ends the financial battle by declaring the children of his county to be his heirs. Allen deemed ''God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater'' more "a cry from the heart than a novel under its author's full intellectual control", that reflected family and emotional stresses Vonnegut was going through at the time. In the mid-1960s, Vonnegut contemplated abandoning his writing career. In 1999 he wrote in ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' is an American daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership. Founded in 1851, the ''Times'' has since won List of Pulitzer Prizes awarded to The New York Times, 132 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of a ...

The New York Times
'', "I had gone broke, was out of print and had a lot of kids..." But then, on the recommendation of an admirer, he received a surprise offer of a teaching job at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, employment that he likened to the rescue of a drowning man.


''Slaughterhouse-Five''

After spending almost two years at Iowa Writers' Workshop, the writer's workshop at the University of Iowa, teaching one course each term, Vonnegut was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for research in Germany. By the time he won it, in March 1967, he was becoming a well-known writer. He used the funds to travel in Eastern Europe, including to Dresden, where he found many prominent buildings still in ruins. At the time of the bombing, Vonnegut had not appreciated the sheer scale of destruction in Dresden; his enlightenment came only slowly as information dribbled out, and based on early figures he came to believe that 135,000 had died there. Vonnegut had been writing about his war experiences at Dresden ever since he returned from the war, but had never been able to write anything acceptable to himself or his publishers—Chapter 1 of ''
Slaughterhouse-Five ''Slaughterhouse-Five, or, The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death'' is a science fiction Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a genre of speculative fiction which typically deals with imagination, imaginative ...
'' tells of his difficulties. Released in 1969, the novel rocketed Vonnegut to fame. It tells of the life of Billy Pilgrim, who like Vonnegut was born in 1922 and survives the bombing of Dresden. The story is told in a non-linear fashion, with many of the story's climaxes—Billy's death in 1976, his kidnapping by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore nine years earlier, and the execution of Billy's friend Edgar Derby in the ashes of Dresden for stealing a teapot—disclosed in the story's first pages. In 1970, he was also a correspondent in Biafra during the Nigerian Civil War. ''Slaughterhouse-Five'' received generally positive reviews, with Michael Crichton writing in ''The New Republic'', "he writes about the most excruciatingly painful things. His novels have attacked our deepest fears of automation and the bomb, our deepest political guilts, our fiercest hatreds and loves. No one else writes books on these subjects; they are inaccessible to normal novelists." The book went immediately to the top of ''The New York Times'' Best Seller list. Vonnegut's earlier works had appealed strongly to many college students, and the antiwar message of ''Slaughterhouse-Five'' resonated with a generation marked by the
Vietnam War {{Infobox military conflict , conflict = Vietnam War , partof = the Indochina Wars The Indochina Wars ( vi, Chiến tranh Đông Dương) were a series of wars fought in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled ...
. He later stated that the loss of confidence in government that Vietnam caused finally allowed for an honest conversation regarding events like Dresden.


Later career and life

After ''Slaughterhouse-Five'' was published, Vonnegut embraced the fame and financial security that attended its release. He was hailed as a hero of the burgeoning anti-war movement in the United States, was invited to speak at numerous rallies, and gave college commencement addresses around the country. In addition to briefly teaching at Harvard University as a lecturer in creative writing in 1970, Vonnegut taught at the City College of New York as a distinguished professor during the 1973–1974 academic year. He was later elected vice president of the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and given honorary degrees by, among others, Indiana University and Bennington College. Vonnegut also wrote a play called ''Happy Birthday, Wanda June'', which opened on October 7, 1970, at New York's Theatre de Lys. Receiving mixed reviews, it closed on March 14, 1971. In 1972, Universal Pictures adapted ''Slaughterhouse-Five'' into Slaughterhouse-Five (film), a film which the author said was "flawless". Meanwhile, Vonnegut's personal life was disintegrating. His wife Jane had embraced Christianity, which was contrary to Vonnegut's atheistic beliefs, and with five of their six children having left home, Vonnegut said the two were forced to find "other sorts of seemingly important work to do". The couple battled over their differing beliefs until Vonnegut moved from their Cape Cod home to New York in 1971. Vonnegut called the disagreements "painful", and said the resulting split was a "terrible, unavoidable accident that we were ill-equipped to understand". The couple divorced and they remained friends until Jane's death in late 1986. Beyond his marriage, he was deeply affected when his son Mark suffered a mental breakdown in 1972, which exacerbated Vonnegut's chronic depression, and led him to take Ritalin. When he stopped taking the drug in the mid-1970s, he began to see a psychologist weekly. Vonnegut's difficulties materialized in numerous ways; most distinctly though, was the painfully slow progress he was making on his next novel, the darkly comical ''Breakfast of Champions''. In 1971, Vonnegut stopped writing the novel altogether. When it was finally released in 1973, it was panned critically. In Thomas S. Hischak's book ''American Literature on Stage and Screen'', ''Breakfast of Champions'' was called "funny and outlandish", but reviewers noted that it "lacks substance and seems to be an exercise in literary playfulness". Vonnegut's 1976 novel ''Slapstick (novel), Slapstick'', which meditates on the relationship between him and his sister (Alice), met a similar fate. In ''The New York Times'''s review of ''Slapstick'', Christopher Lehmann-Haupt said Vonnegut "seems to be putting less effort into [storytelling] than ever before", and that "it still seems as if he has given up storytelling after all." At times, Vonnegut was disgruntled by the personal nature of his detractors' complaints. In 1979, Vonnegut married Jill Krementz, a photographer whom he met while she was working on a series about writers in the early 1970s. With Jill, he adopted a daughter, Lily, when the baby was three days old. In subsequent years, his popularity resurged as he published several satirical books, including ''Jailbird (novel), Jailbird'' (1979), ''Deadeye Dick'' (1982), ''Galápagos (novel), Galápagos'' (1985), ''Bluebeard (Vonnegut novel), Bluebeard'' (1987), and ''Hocus Pocus (novel), Hocus Pocus'' (1990). Although he remained a prolific writer in the 1980s Vonnegut struggled with depression and attempted suicide in 1984. Two years later, Vonnegut was seen by a younger generation when he played himself in Rodney Dangerfield's film ''Back to School''. The last of Vonnegut's fourteen novels, ''Timequake'' (1997), was, as University of Detroit history professor and Vonnegut biographer Gregory Sumner said, "a reflection of an aging man facing mortality and testimony to an embattled faith in the resilience of human awareness and agency." Vonnegut's final book, a collection of essays entitled '' A Man Without a Country'' (2005), became a bestseller.


Death and legacy

In a 2006 ''Rolling Stone'' interview, Vonnegut sardonically stated that he would sue the Brown & Williamson tobacco company, the maker of the Pall Mall (cigarette), Pall Mall-branded cigarettes he had been smoking since he was around 12 or 14 years old, for false advertising: "And do you know why? Because I'm 83 years old. The lying bastards! On the package Brown & Williamson promised to kill me." He died in the Manhattan borough of New York City on the night of April 11, 2007, as a result of brain injuries incurred several weeks prior from a fall at his brownstone home. His death was reported by his wife Jill. He was 84 years old. At the time of his death, he had written 14 novels, three short story collections, five plays, and five non-fiction books. A book composed of his unpublished pieces, ''
Armageddon in Retrospect ''Armageddon in Retrospect'' is a collection of short stories and essays about war and peace written by Kurt Vonnegut. It is the first posthumous collection of his previously unpublished writings. The book includes an introduction by Mark Vonneg ...
'', was compiled and posthumously published by his son Mark in 2008. When asked about the impact Vonnegut had on his work, author Josip Novakovich stated that he has "much to learn from Vonnegut—how to compress things and yet not compromise them, how to digress into history, quote from various historical accounts, and not stifle the narrative. The ease with which he writes is sheerly masterly, Mozartian." ''Los Angeles Times'' columnist Gregory Rodriguez said that the author will "rightly be remembered as a darkly humorous social critic and the premier novelist of the Counterculture of the 1960s, counterculture", and Dinitia Smith of ''The New York Times'' dubbed Vonnegut the "counterculture's novelist". Vonnegut has inspired numerous posthumous tributes and works. In 2008, the Kurt Vonnegut Society was established, and in November 2010, the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library was opened in Vonnegut's hometown of Indianapolis. The Library of America published a compendium of Vonnegut's compositions between 1963 and 1973 the following April, and another compendium of his earlier works in 2012. Late 2011 saw the release of two Vonnegut biographies, Gregory Sumner's ''Unstuck in Time'' and Charles J. Shields's ''And So It Goes''. Shields's biography of Vonnegut created some controversy. According to ''The Guardian'', the book portrays Vonnegut as distant, cruel and nasty. "Cruel, nasty and scary are the adjectives commonly used to describe him by the friends, colleagues, and relatives Shields quotes", said ''The Daily Beast''s Wendy Smith. "Towards the end he was very feeble, very depressed and almost morose", said Jerome Klinkowitz of the University of Northern Iowa, who has examined Vonnegut in depth. Vonnegut's works have evoked ire on several occasions. His most prominent novel, ''Slaughterhouse-Five'', has been objected to or removed at various institutions in at least 18 instances. In the case of ''Island Trees School District v. Pico'', the United States Supreme Court ruled that Island Trees Union Free School District, a school district's ban on ''Slaughterhouse-Five''—which the board had called "anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, and just plain filthy"—and eight other novels was unconstitutional. When a school board in Republic, Missouri decided to withdraw Vonnegut's novel from its libraries, the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library offered a free copy to all the students of the district. Tally, writing in 2013, suggests that Vonnegut has only recently become the subject of serious study rather than fan adulation, and much is yet to be written about him. "The time for scholars to say 'Here's why Vonnegut is worth reading' has definitively ended, thank goodness. We know he's worth reading. Now tell us things we don't know." Todd F. Davis notes that Vonnegut's work is kept alive by his loyal readers, who have "significant influence as they continue to purchase Vonnegut's work, passing it on to subsequent generations and keeping his entire canon in print—an impressive list of more than twenty books that [Dell Publishing] has continued to refurbish and hawk with new cover designs." Donald E. Morse notes that Vonnegut, "is now firmly, if somewhat controversially, ensconced in the American and world literary canon as well as in high school, college and graduate curricula". Tally writes of Vonnegut's work: The Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame inducted Vonnegut posthumously in 2015."2015 SF&F Hall of Fame Inductees & James Gunn Fundraiser"
June 12, 2015. Locus Publications. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
"Kurt Vonnegut: American author who combined satiric social commentary with surrealist and science fictional elements"
. ''Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame''. EMP Museum (empmuseum.org). Retrieved September 10, 2015.
The asteroid 25399 Vonnegut is named in his honor. A Vonnegut (crater), crater on the planet Mercury (planet), Mercury has also been named in his honor. In 2021, the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library in Indianapolis was designated a Literary Landmark by the Literary Landmarks Association.


Views


War

In the introduction to ''
Slaughterhouse-Five ''Slaughterhouse-Five, or, The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death'' is a science fiction Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a genre of speculative fiction which typically deals with imagination, imaginative ...
'' Vonnegut recounts meeting the film producer Harrison Starr at a party who asked him whether his forthcoming book was an anti-war novel—"I guess", replied Vonnegut. Starr responded "Why don't you write an anti-glacier novel?" This underlined Vonnegut's belief that wars were, unfortunately, inevitable, but that it was important to ensure the wars one fought were Just war theory, just wars. In 2011, NPR wrote, "Kurt Vonnegut's blend of anti-war sentiment and satire made him one of the most popular writers of the 1960s." Vonnegut stated in a 1987 interview that, "my own feeling is that civilization ended in
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
, and we're still trying to recover from that", and that he wanted to write war-focused works without glamorizing war itself. Vonnegut had not intended to publish again, but his anger against the Presidency of George W. Bush, George W. Bush administration led him to write ''A Man Without a Country''. ''Slaughterhouse-Five'' is the Vonnegut novel best known for its antiwar themes, but the author expressed his beliefs in ways beyond the depiction of the destruction of Dresden. One character, Mary O'Hare, opines that "wars were partly encouraged by books and movies", starring "Frank Sinatra or John Wayne or some of those other glamorous, war-loving, dirty old men". Vonnegut made a number of comparisons between Dresden and the bombing of Hiroshima in ''Slaughterhouse-Five'' and wrote in ''Palm Sunday'' (1991) that "I learned how vile that religion of mine could be when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima". Nuclear war, or at least deployed nuclear arms, is mentioned in almost all of Vonnegut's novels. In ''Player Piano'', the computer EPICAC is given control of the nuclear arsenal, and is charged with deciding whether to use high-explosive or nuclear arms. In ''Cat's Cradle'', John's original purpose in setting pen to paper was to write an account of what prominent Americans had been doing as Hiroshima was bombed.


Religion

Vonnegut was an atheist, a Humanism, humanist and a freethought, freethinker, serving as the honorary president of the American Humanist Association. In an interview for ''Playboy'', he stated that his forebears who came to the United States did not believe in God, and he learned his atheism from his parents. He did not, however, disdain those who seek the comfort of religion, hailing church associations as a type of extended family. He occasionally attended a Unitarianism, Unitarian church, but with little consistency. In his autobiographical work ''Palm Sunday'', Vonnegut says he is a "Christ-worshipping agnostic"; in a speech to the Unitarian Universalist Association, he called himself a "Christ-loving atheist". However, he was keen to stress that he was not a Christian. Vonnegut was an admirer of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, particularly the Beatitudes, and incorporated it into his own doctrines. He also referred to it in many of his works. In his 1991 book ''Fates Worse than Death'', Vonnegut suggests that during the Reagan administration, "anything that sounded like the Sermon on the Mount was socialistic or communistic, and therefore anti-American". In ''Palm Sunday'', he wrote that "the Sermon on the Mount suggests a mercifulness that can never waver or fade." However, Vonnegut had a deep dislike for certain aspects of Christianity, often reminding his readers of the bloody history of the Crusades and other religion-inspired violence. He despised the televangelists of the late 20th century, feeling that their thinking was narrow-minded. Religion features frequently in Vonnegut's work, both in his novels and elsewhere. He laced a number of his speeches with religion-focused rhetoric, and was prone to using such expressions as "God forbid" and "thank God". He once wrote his own version of the Requiem Mass, which he then had translated into Latin and set to music. In ''God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian'', Vonnegut goes to heaven after he is euthanasia, euthanized by Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Once in heaven, he interviews 21 deceased celebrities, including Isaac Asimov, William Shakespeare, and Kilgore Trout—the last a fictional character from several of his novels. Vonnegut's works are filled with characters founding new faiths, and religion often serves as a major plot device, for example in ''Player Piano'', ''The Sirens of Titan'' and ''Cat's Cradle''. In ''The Sirens of Titan'', Rumfoord proclaims The Church of God the Utterly Indifferent. ''Slaughterhouse-Five'' sees Billy Pilgrim, lacking religion himself, nevertheless become a chaplain's assistant in the military and displaying a large crucifix on his bedroom wall. In ''Cat's Cradle'', Vonnegut invented the religion of Bokononism.


Politics

Vonnegut did not particularly sympathize with Liberalism in the United States, liberalism or Conservatism in the United States, conservatism, and mused on the specious simplicity of American politics, saying facetiously, "If you want to take my guns away from me, and you're all for murdering fetuses, and love it when homosexuals marry each other ... you're a liberal. If you are against those perversions and for the rich, you're a conservative. What could be simpler?" Regarding political parties, Vonnegut said, "The two real political parties in America are the Winners and the Losers. The people don't acknowledge this. They claim membership in two imaginary parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, instead." Vonnegut disregarded more mainstream political ideologies in favor of socialism, which he thought could provide a valuable substitute for what he saw as social Darwinism and a spirit of "survival of the fittest" in American society, believing that "socialism would be a good for the common man". Vonnegut would often return to a quote by socialist and five-time presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs: "As long as there is a lower class, I am in it. As long as there is a criminal element, I'm of it. As long as there is a soul in prison, I am not free." Vonnegut expressed disappointment that communism and socialism seemed to be unsavory topics to the average American, and believed that they offered beneficial substitutes to contemporary social and economic systems.


Writing


Influences

Vonnegut's writing was inspired by an eclectic mix of sources. When he was younger, Vonnegut stated that he read works of Pulp magazine, pulp fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and action-adventure. He also read the classics, such as the plays of Aristophanes—like Vonnegut's works, humorous critiques of contemporary society. Vonnegut's life and work also share similarities with that of ''Adventures of Huckleberry Finn'' writer Mark Twain. Both shared pessimistic outlooks on humanity, and a skeptical take on religion, and, as Vonnegut put it, were both "associated with the enemy in a major war", as Twain briefly enlisted in the South's cause during the American Civil War, and Vonnegut's German name and ancestry connected him with the United States' enemy in both world wars. He also cited Ambrose Bierce as an influence, calling An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge the greatest American short story and deeming any who disagreed or had not read the story 'twerps.' Vonnegut called George Orwell his favorite writer, and admitted that he tried to emulate Orwell. "I like his concern for the poor, I like his socialism, I like his simplicity", Vonnegut said. Vonnegut also said that Orwell's ''Nineteen Eighty-Four'', and ''Brave New World'' by Aldous Huxley, heavily influenced his debut novel, ''Player Piano'', in 1952. Vonnegut commented that Robert Louis Stevenson's stories were emblems of thoughtfully put together works that he tried to mimic in his own compositions. Vonnegut also hailed playwright and socialist George Bernard Shaw as "a hero of [his]", and an "enormous influence". Within his own family, Vonnegut stated that his mother, Edith, had the greatest influence on him. "[My] mother thought she might make a new fortune by writing for the slick magazines. She took short-story courses at night. She studied writers the way gamblers study horses." Early on in his career, Vonnegut decided to model his style after Henry David Thoreau, who wrote as if from the perspective of a child, allowing Thoreau's works to be more widely comprehensible. Using a youthful narrative voice allowed Vonnegut to deliver concepts in a modest and straightforward way. Other influences on Vonnegut include ''The War of the Worlds'' author H. G. Wells, and satirist Jonathan Swift. Vonnegut credited American journalist and critic H. L. Mencken for inspiring him to become a journalist.


Style and technique

In his book ''Popular Contemporary Writers'', Michael D. Sharp describes Vonnegut's linguistic style as straightforward; his sentences concise, his language simple, his paragraphs brief, and his ordinary tone conversational. Vonnegut uses this style to convey normally complex subject matter in a way that is intelligible to a large audience. He credited his time as a journalist for his ability, pointing to his work with the Chicago City News Bureau, which required him to convey stories in telephone conversations. Vonnegut's compositions are also laced with distinct references to his own life, notably in ''Slaughterhouse-Five'' and ''Slapstick''. Vonnegut believed that ideas, and the convincing communication of those ideas to the reader, were vital to literary art. He did not always sugarcoat his points: much of ''Player Piano'' leads up to the moment when Paul, on trial and hooked up to a lie detector, is asked to tell a falsehood, and states, "every new piece of scientific knowledge is a good thing for humanity". Robert T. Tally Jr., in his volume on Vonnegut's novels, wrote, "rather than tearing down and destroying the icons of twentieth-century, middle-class American life, Vonnegut gently reveals their basic flimsiness." Vonnegut did not simply propose utopian solutions to the ills of American society, but showed how such schemes would not allow ordinary people to live lives free from want and anxiety. The large artificial families that the U.S. population is formed into in ''Slapstick'' soon serve as an excuse for tribalism, with people giving no help to those not part of their group, and with the extended family's place in the social hierarchy becoming vital. In the introduction to their essay "Kurt Vonnegut and Humor", Tally and Peter C. Kunze suggest that Vonnegut was not a "Black comedy, black humorist", but a "frustrated idealist" who used "comic parables" to teach the reader absurd, bitter or hopeless truths, with his grim witticisms serving to make the reader laugh rather than cry. "Vonnegut makes sense through humor, which is, in the author's view, as valid a means of mapping this crazy world as any other strategies." Vonnegut resented being called a black humorist, feeling that, as with many literary labels, it allows readers to disregard aspects of a writer's work that do not fit the label's stereotype. Vonnegut's works have, at various times, been labeled science fiction, satire and Postmodern literature, postmodern. He also resisted such labels, but his works do contain common Trope (literature), tropes that are often associated with those genres. In several of his books, Vonnegut imagines alien societies and civilizations, as is common in works of science fiction. Vonnegut does this to emphasize or exaggerate absurdities and idiosyncrasies in our own world. Furthermore, Vonnegut often humorizes the problems that plague societies, as is done in satirical works. However, literary theorist Robert Scholes noted in ''Fabulation and Metafiction'' that Vonnegut "reject[s] the traditional satirist's faith in the efficacy of satire as a reforming instrument. [He has] a more subtle faith in the humanizing value of laughter." Examples of postmodernism may also be found in Vonnegut's works. Postmodernism often entails a response to the theory that the truths of the world will be discovered through science. Postmodernists contend that truth is subjective, rather than objective, as it is biased towards each individual's beliefs and outlook on the world. They often use unreliable narrator, unreliable, first-person narration, and narrative Postmodern literature#Fragmentation, fragmentation. One critic has argued that Vonnegut's most famous novel, ''
Slaughterhouse-Five ''Slaughterhouse-Five, or, The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death'' is a science fiction Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a genre of speculative fiction which typically deals with imagination, imaginative ...
'', features a metafictional, Janus, Janus-headed outlook as it seeks both to represent actual historical events while problematizing the very notion of doing exactly that. This is encapsulated in the opening lines of the novel: "All this happened, more or less. The war parts, anyway, are pretty much true." This bombastic opening—"All this happened"—"reads like a declaration of complete mimesis" which is radically called into question in the rest of the quote and "[t]his creates an integrated perspective that seeks out extratextual themes [like war and trauma] while thematizing the novel's textuality and inherent constructedness at one and the same time." While Vonnegut does use elements as fragmentation and metafictional elements, in some of his works, he more distinctly focuses on the peril posed by individuals who find subjective truths, mistake them for objective truths, then proceed to impose these truths on others.


Themes

Vonnegut was a vocal critic of American society, and this was reflected in his writings. Several key social themes recur in Vonnegut's works, such as wealth, the lack of it, and its unequal distribution among a society. In ''The Sirens of Titan'', the novel's protagonist, Malachi Constant, is exiled to Saturn's moon Titan (moon), Titan as a result of his vast wealth, which has made him arrogant and wayward. In ''God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater'', readers may find it difficult to determine whether the rich or the poor are in worse circumstances as the lives of both groups' members are ruled by their wealth or their poverty. Further, in ''Hocus Pocus'', the protagonist is named Eugene Debs Hartke, a homage to the famed socialist Eugene V. Debs and Vonnegut's socialist views. In ''Kurt Vonnegut: A Critical Companion'', Thomas F. Marvin states: "Vonnegut points out that, left unchecked, capitalism will erode the democratic foundations of the United States." Marvin suggests that Vonnegut's works demonstrate what happens when a "hereditary aristocracy" develops, where wealth is inherited along familial lines: the ability of poor Americans to overcome their situations is greatly or completely diminished. Vonnegut also often laments social Darwinism, and a "survival of the fittest" view of society. He points out that social Darwinism leads to a society that condemns its poor for their own misfortune, and fails to help them out of their poverty because "they deserve their fate". Vonnegut also confronts the idea of free will in a number of his pieces. In ''Slaughterhouse-Five'' and ''Timequake'' the characters have no choice in what they do; in ''Breakfast of Champions'', characters are very obviously stripped of their free will and even receive it as a gift; and in ''Cat's Cradle'', Bokononism views free will as heresy, heretical. The majority of Vonnegut's characters are estranged from their actual families and seek to build replacement or extended families. For example, the engineers in ''Player Piano'' called their manager's spouse "Mom". In ''Cat's Cradle'', Vonnegut devises two separate methods for loneliness to be combated: A "karass", which is a group of individuals appointed by God to do his will, and a "granfalloon", defined by Marvin as a "meaningless association of people, such as a fraternal group or a nation". Similarly, in ''Slapstick'', the U.S. government codifies that all Americans are a part of large extended families. Fear of the loss of one's purpose in life is a theme in Vonnegut's works. The Great Depression forced Vonnegut to witness the devastation many people felt when they lost their jobs, and while at General Electric, Vonnegut witnessed machines being built to take the place of human labor. He confronts these things in his works through references to the growing use of automation and its effects on human society. This is most starkly represented in his first novel, ''Player Piano'', where many Americans are left purposeless and unable to find work as machines replace human workers. Loss of purpose is also depicted in ''Galápagos'', where a florist rages at her spouse for creating a robot able to do her job, and in ''Timequake'', where an architect kills himself when replaced by computer software. Suicide by fire is another common theme in Vonnegut's works; the author often returns to the theory that "many people are not fond of life". He uses this as an explanation for why humans have so severely damaged their environments, and made devices such as nuclear weapons that can make their creators extinct. In ''Deadeye Dick'', Vonnegut features the neutron bomb, which he claims is designed to kill people, but leave buildings and structures untouched. He also uses this theme to demonstrate the recklessness of those who put powerful, apocalypse-inducing devices at the disposal of politicians. "What is the point of life?" is a question Vonnegut often pondered in his works. When one of Vonnegut's characters, Kilgore Trout, finds the question "What is the purpose of life?" written in a bathroom, his response is, "To be the eyes and ears and conscience of the Creator of the Universe, you fool." Marvin finds Trout's theory curious, given that Vonnegut was an atheist, and thus for him, there is no Creator to report back to, and comments that, "[as] Trout chronicles one meaningless life after another, readers are left to wonder how a compassionate creator could stand by and do nothing while such reports come in." In the Epigraph (literature), epigraph to ''Bluebeard'', Vonnegut quotes his son Mark, and gives an answer to what he believes is the meaning of life: "We are here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is."


Awards and nominations

* 1953 International Fantasy Award nomination: ''
Player Piano A player piano (also known as a pianola) is a self-playing piano The piano is an acoustic Acoustic may refer to: Music Albums * Acoustic (Bayside EP), ''Acoustic'' (Bayside EP) * Acoustic (Britt Nicole EP), ''Acoustic'' (Britt Nicol ...
'' * 1960 Writers Guild of America Award: "Auf Wiedersehen" * 1960 Hugo Award for Best Novel finalist: ''
The Sirens of Titan ''The Sirens of Titan'' is a comic science fiction novel by Kurt Vonnegut, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., first 1959 in literature, published in 1959. His second novel, it involves issues of free will, omniscience, and the overall purpose of human history. Mu ...
'' * 1964 Hugo Award for Best Novel finalist: ''
Cat's Cradle ''Cat's Cradle'' is a satirical Satire is a genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it no ...
'' * 1970 Nebula Award nomination: ''
Slaughterhouse-Five ''Slaughterhouse-Five, or, The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death'' is a science fiction Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a genre of speculative fiction which typically deals with imagination, imaginative ...
'' * 1970 Hugo Award for Best Novel finalist: ''
Slaughterhouse-Five ''Slaughterhouse-Five, or, The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death'' is a science fiction Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a genre of speculative fiction which typically deals with imagination, imaginative ...
'' * 1971 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play: ''Happy Birthday Wanda June'' * 1973 Seiun Award winner for foreign novel: ''
The Sirens of Titan ''The Sirens of Titan'' is a comic science fiction novel by Kurt Vonnegut, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., first 1959 in literature, published in 1959. His second novel, it involves issues of free will, omniscience, and the overall purpose of human history. Mu ...
'' * 1973 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation winner: ''Slaughterhouse-Five (film), Slaughterhouse-Five'' * 1986 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel, John W. Campbell Award second place: ''Galápagos (novel), Galapagos'' * 2009 Audie Award for Short Stories/Collections: ''
Armageddon in Retrospect ''Armageddon in Retrospect'' is a collection of short stories and essays about war and peace written by Kurt Vonnegut. It is the first posthumous collection of his previously unpublished writings. The book includes an introduction by Mark Vonneg ...
'' * 2015 Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame from the Science Fiction Museum * 2019 Prometheus Hall of Fame award for "Harrison Bergeron" from the Libertarian Futurist Society


Works

Unless otherwise cited, items in this list are taken from Thomas F. Marvin's 2002 book ''Kurt Vonnegut: A Critical Companion'', and the date in parentheses is the date the work was first published:


Novels

* ''
Player Piano A player piano (also known as a pianola) is a self-playing piano The piano is an acoustic Acoustic may refer to: Music Albums * Acoustic (Bayside EP), ''Acoustic'' (Bayside EP) * Acoustic (Britt Nicole EP), ''Acoustic'' (Britt Nicol ...
'' (1952) * ''
The Sirens of Titan ''The Sirens of Titan'' is a comic science fiction novel by Kurt Vonnegut, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., first 1959 in literature, published in 1959. His second novel, it involves issues of free will, omniscience, and the overall purpose of human history. Mu ...
'' (1959) * ''Mother Night'' (1962) * ''
Cat's Cradle ''Cat's Cradle'' is a satirical Satire is a genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it no ...
'' (1963) * ''God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater'' (1965) * ''
Slaughterhouse-Five ''Slaughterhouse-Five, or, The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death'' is a science fiction Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a genre of speculative fiction which typically deals with imagination, imaginative ...
'' (1969) * ''Breakfast of Champions'' (1973) * ''Slapstick (novel), Slapstick'' (1976) * ''Jailbird (novel), Jailbird'' (1979) * ''Deadeye Dick'' (1982) * ''Galápagos (novel), Galápagos'' (1985) * ''Bluebeard (Vonnegut novel), Bluebeard'' (1987) * ''Hocus Pocus (novel), Hocus Pocus'' (1990) * ''Timequake'' (1997)


Short fiction collections

* ''Canary in a Cat House'' (1961) * ''
Welcome to the Monkey House ''Welcome to the Monkey House'' is a collection of 25 short stories A short story is a piece of prose fiction that typically can be read in one sitting and focuses on a self-contained incident or series of linked incidents, with the intent of e ...
'' (1968) * ''Bagombo Snuff Box'' (1997) * ''God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian'' (1999) * ''
Armageddon in Retrospect ''Armageddon in Retrospect'' is a collection of short stories and essays about war and peace written by Kurt Vonnegut. It is the first posthumous collection of his previously unpublished writings. The book includes an introduction by Mark Vonneg ...
'' (2008) – short stories and essays * ''Look at the Birdie'' (2009) * ''While Mortals Sleep (book), While Mortals Sleep'' (2011) * ''We Are What We Pretend to Be'' (2012) * ''Sucker's Portfolio'' (2013) * ''Complete Stories (Vonnegut), Complete Stories'' (2017)


Plays

* ''The First Christmas Morning'' (1962) * ''Fortitude (play), Fortitude'' (1968) * ''Happy Birthday, Wanda June'' (1970) * ''Between Time and Timbuktu'' (1972) * ''Stones, Time and Elements (A Humanist Requiem)'' (1987) * ''Make Up Your Mind (novel), Make Up Your Mind'' (1993) * ''L’Histoire du Soldat'' (1997)


Nonfiction

* ''Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons'' (1974) * ''Palm Sunday (book), Palm Sunday'' (1981) * ''Nothing Is Lost Save Honor: Two Essays'' (1984) * ''
Fates Worse Than Death ''Fates Worse than Death'', subtitled ''An Autobiographical Collage of the 1980s'', is a 1991 collection of essays, speeches, and other previously uncollected writings by author Kurt Vonnegut Jr. In the introduction to the book, Vonnegut acknowle ...
'' (1991) * '' A Man Without a Country'' (2005) * ''Kurt Vonnegut: The Cornell Sun Years 1941–1943'' (2012) * ''If This Isn't Nice, What Is?: Advice to the Young'' (2013) * ''Vonnegut by the Dozen'' (2013) * ''Kurt Vonnegut: Letters'' (2014) * ''Pity the Reader: On Writing With Style'' (2019) with Suzanne McConnell * ''Love, Kurt: The Vonnegut Love Letters, 1941-1945'' (2020) Editor Edith Vonnegut


Interviews

* ''Conversations with Kurt Vonnegut'' (1988) with William Rodney Allen * ''Like Shaking Hands with God: A Conversation About Writing'' (1999) with Lee Stringer * ''Kurt Vonnegut: The Last Interview: And Other Conversations'' (2011)


Children's books

* ''Sun Moon Star'' (1980)


Art

* ''Kurt Vonnegut Drawings'' (2014)


See also

* List of peace activists


Explanatory notes


Citations


General sources

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Further reading

* Cairns Craig, Craig, Cairns (1983), ''An Interview with Kurt Vonnegut'', in Hearn, Sheila G. (ed.), ''Cencrastus'' No. 13, Summer 1983, pp. 29 – 32, * Oltean-Cîmpean, A. A. (2016). "Kurt Vonnegut's Humanism: An Author's Journey Towards Preaching for Peace". ''Studii De Ştiintă Şi Cultură'', 12(2), 259–266. * Párraga, J. J. (2013)
"Kurt Vonnegut's Quest for Identity"
Revista Futhark, 8185–8199


External links

*

at the Lilly Library, Indiana University Bloomington
Vonnegut, Kurt
at the Library of Congress
Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library
* * * * * *
Award Bibliography: Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
at ISFDB
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
at SFADB * {{DEFAULTSORT:Vonnegut, Kurt Kurt Vonnegut, 1922 births 2007 deaths 20th-century American dramatists and playwrights 20th-century American essayists 20th-century American male writers 20th-century American novelists 20th-century American philosophers 20th-century American short story writers 21st-century American dramatists and playwrights 21st-century American essayists 21st-century American male writers 21st-century American novelists 21st-century American philosophers 21st-century American short story writers Accidental deaths from falls Accidental deaths in New York (state) American agnostics American anti-war activists American anti–Iraq War activists American anti–Vietnam War activists American atheists American cultural critics American humanists American male dramatists and playwrights American male essayists American male non-fiction writers American male novelists American male short story writers American pacifists American people of German descent American political philosophers American prisoners of war in World War II American satirical novelists American satirists American science fiction writers American secularists American social commentators American socialists American tax resisters American Unitarian Universalists Carnegie Mellon University alumni City College of New York faculty Comedians from Indiana Cornell University alumni Critics of Christianity Critics of neoconservatism Critics of religions Cultural critics Freethought writers Freethought General Electric people Harper's Magazine people Harvard University faculty Iowa Writers' Workshop faculty Members of the American Academy of Arts and Letters Moral philosophers Nonviolence advocates Novelists from Indiana Philosophers of art Philosophers of culture Philosophers of ethics and morality Philosophers of history Philosophers of literature Philosophers of love Philosophers of technology Philosophers of war Political philosophers Postmodern writers Secular humanists Shortridge High School alumni Social critics Social philosophers Theorists on Western civilization United States Army personnel of World War II United States Army soldiers University of Chicago alumni University of Iowa faculty University of Tennessee alumni Vonnegut family War correspondents of the Nigerian Civil War Weird fiction writers World War II prisoners of war held by Germany Writers about activism and social change Writers from Indianapolis Writers who illustrated their own writing