New Critical Essays On Kurt Vonnegut

Paperback | September 15, 2011

EditorDavid Simmons

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Kurt Vonnegut’s darkly comic work became a symbol for the counterculture of a generation. From his debut novel,  Player Piano (1951) through seminal 1960’s novels such as Cat’s Cradle (1963) and Slaughterhouse-Five (1969) up to the recent success of A Man Without A Country (2005), Vonnegut’s writing has remained commercially popular, offering a satirical yet optimistic outlook on modern life. Though many fellow writers admired Vonnegut—Gore Vidal famously suggesting that “Kurt was never dull” —the academic establishment has tended to retain a degree of scepticism concerning the validity of his work. This dynamic collection aims to re-evaluate Vonnegut’s position as an integral part of the American post-war canon of literature.

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Kurt Vonnegut’s darkly comic work became a symbol for the counterculture of a generation. From his debut novel,  Player Piano (1951) through seminal 1960’s novels such as Cat’s Cradle (1963) and Slaughterhouse-Five (1969) up to the recent success of A Man Without A Country (2005), Vonnegut’s writing has remained commercially popular, o...

David Simmons is a Lecturer in American Literature, Film, and Television studies at the University of Northampton. He has published a wide range of articles on twentieth-century popular fiction and culture, including the 1960s countercultural movement, H. P. Lovecraft, the American horror film, and contemporary genre television.  He i...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:250 pages, 8.63 × 5.6 × 0.6 inPublished:September 15, 2011Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230120970

ISBN - 13:9780230120976

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Table of Contents

Introduction--David Simmons * PART I: Vonnegut’s Early Literature 1950-1969 * Flabbergasted--Todd Davis * Kurt Vonnegut's Mother Night: Howard W. Campbell, Jr., and the Banalities of Evil--Philip Tew * "No damn cat, and no damn cradle”: The Fundamental Flaws in Fundamentalism According to Vonnegut--P. L. Thomas * "God damn it, you’ve got to be kind": War and Altruism in the Works of Kurt Vonnegut--Rachel McCoppin * The Journey Home in Kurt Vonnegut’s World War II Novels--Elizabeth Abele *  PART II: Vonnegut's later Writing 1970-2005 * Art, Domesticity, and Vonnegut’s Women--Susan E. Farrell * Apocalypse in the Optative Mood: Galápagos, or, Starting Over--Robert Tally * Folding Time: History, Subjectivity, and Intimacy in Vonnegut--Lorna Jowett * Resilience, Time and the Ability of Humor to Salvage any Situation: Bagombo Snuff Box--Jessica Lingel * PART 3: Vonnegut and Other Writers * Duty Dance with Death: A Farewell to Arms and Slaughterhouse-Five--Lawrence Broer * “Somewhere in There Was Springtime”: Kurt Vonnegut, His Apocalypses, and His Post-9/11 Heirs--Chris Glover * Wampeters and Foma? Misreading Religion in Cat’s Cradle and The Book of Dave--Claire Allen
 
 
 
 

Editorial Reviews

"Together the essays stand as an introduction to rereading Vonnegut, demonstrating that his canon may be worth reexamining. Secret lovers of Vonnegut (and sci-fi) will use this book to defend their affections for an artist whose pop fame and pop forms dismay some critics. And one can almost imagine Vonnegut's crooked smile at essays that seek to reserve a place in high-toned literary debates for his works."--Choice“This collection offers a timely re-engagement with one of the most enigmatic, deceptive, and misunderstood of American authors…Through a comprehensive interrogation of Vonnegut’s early and late novels, his short stories, and his relationship to predecessors such as Hemingway and his ‘post-9/11 heirs’ such as Cormac McCarthy, Don DeLillo, and Ian McEwan, the contributing scholars establish beyond question the continuing relevance and necessity of reading Vonnegut.”—Will Kaufman, Professor of American Literature and Culture, University of Central Lancashire and author of The Comedian as Confidence Man“Whether describing the uniquely warm personal relationship many literary critics shared with Vonnegut (Todd Davis), exploring the evolution of a feminist vision in his work (Susan E. Farrell), bringing fresh insights into the function of science fiction elements in his novels (Lorna Jowett), or detailing Vonnegut’s ambiguous but important relationship to other writers such as Hemingway (Lawrence Broer), these one dozen essays offer convincing arguments that Vonnegut should, and will, remain a canonical American writer—at least until we humans manage to destroy the world.”-- William Rodney Allen, author of Understanding Kurt Vonnegut“With considerations of Vonnegut’s exploded narrative structures, revelatory views on the importance of his feminine characters, explorations of both religious and apocalyptic themes, and measuring his novelty and subtexts against literary giants and his influence on new novelists, these essays speak to the essential questions Vonnegut establishes for a world rent asunder by man’s inclinations to do evil in the name of goodness.”—Mark Leeds, editor of The Vonnegut Encyclopedia