Thursday, April 12, 2007

Remembering Kurt Vonnegut

It's a good time to reread Slaughterhouse Five. This is from the New York Times obituary of Kurt Vonnegut, who died last night at the age of 84:
The defining moment of Mr. Vonnegut’s life was the firebombing of Dresden, Germany, by Allied forces in 1945, an event he witnessed firsthand as a young prisoner of war. Thousands of civilians were killed in the raids, many of them burned to death or asphyxiated. “The firebombing of Dresden,” Mr. Vonnegut wrote, “was a work of art.” It was, he added, “a tower of smoke and flame to commemorate the rage and heartbreak of so many who had had their lives warped or ruined by the indescribable greed and vanity and cruelty of Germany.”

His experience in Dresden was the basis of “Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children’s Crusade,” which was published in 1969 against the backdrop of war in Vietnam, racial unrest and cultural and social upheaval. The novel, wrote the critic Jerome Klinkowitz, “so perfectly caught America’s transformative mood that its story and structure became best-selling metaphors for the new age.”

The image for the day is at Vonnegut.com. Many resources are here. And visit Bioethics.net for an apt current photo.

No comments: