Author Topic: The brilliance of Kurt Vonnegut  (Read 5053 times)

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SoNowThen

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The brilliance of Kurt Vonnegut
« on: June 06, 2003, 11:42:04 AM »
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Discovered him a few years back, been reading like mad ever since. Favs are Slaughterhouse 5 and Cat's Cradle. Also read Breakfast Of Champions, Jailbird, and God Bless You Mr Rosewater.

Any other fans here? Got any recommends for another book of his?
Those who say that the totalitarian state of the Soviet Union was not "real" Marxism also cannot admit that one simple feature of Marxism makes totalitarianism necessary:  the rejection of civil society. Since civil society is the sphere of private activity, its abolition and replacement by political society means that nothing private remains. That is already the essence of totalitarianism; and the moralistic practice of the trendy Left, which regards everything as political and sometimes reveals its hostility to free speech, does nothing to contradict this implication.

When those who hated capital and consumption (and Jews) in the 20th century murdered some hundred million people, and the poster children for the struggle against international capitalism and America are now fanatical Islamic terrorists, this puts recent enthusiasts in an awkward position. Most of them are too dense and shameless to appreciate it, and far too many are taken in by the moralistic and paternalistic rhetoric of the Left.

godardian

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The brilliance of Kurt Vonnegut
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2003, 11:45:14 AM »
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I'm embarrassed, as something of a bibliophile, never to have read one of his books.  :oops: I've always intended to, and I still do.
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SoNowThen

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« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2003, 11:46:31 AM »
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Start with Cat's.
Those who say that the totalitarian state of the Soviet Union was not "real" Marxism also cannot admit that one simple feature of Marxism makes totalitarianism necessary:  the rejection of civil society. Since civil society is the sphere of private activity, its abolition and replacement by political society means that nothing private remains. That is already the essence of totalitarianism; and the moralistic practice of the trendy Left, which regards everything as political and sometimes reveals its hostility to free speech, does nothing to contradict this implication.

When those who hated capital and consumption (and Jews) in the 20th century murdered some hundred million people, and the poster children for the struggle against international capitalism and America are now fanatical Islamic terrorists, this puts recent enthusiasts in an awkward position. Most of them are too dense and shameless to appreciate it, and far too many are taken in by the moralistic and paternalistic rhetoric of the Left.

Dirk

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« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2003, 12:55:45 PM »
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I read a few of his books but never thought much of them. It was a few years ago and I was a youngin' so maybe I just didn't "get it".
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« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2003, 12:56:20 PM »
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Did he write that short story "Harrison Bergeron"
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children with angels

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« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2003, 01:08:04 PM »
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I've only read Breakfast of Champions, and absolutley loved it. I really should read more - do any of his other books have the same level of author intervening, postmodern, self-confessional, self-criticising thing going on...? I'm such a sucker for that kind of thing. That's what I try to go for with my own writing. Actually I only read Breakfast of Champions because a friend of mine told me that it was really similar to something I had written. Only twenty odd years earlier.

Has anyone seen the movie? I thought it was interesting - absolutely nowhere near the brilliance of the book (what was with that ending?) but interesting nonetheless. It would make no sense whatsoever to someone who hadn't read the book though. It was cool to see a tiny cameo from Vonnegut himself...
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SoNowThen

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« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2003, 01:15:21 PM »
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Quote from: children with angels
I've only read Breakfast of Champions, and absolutley loved it. I really should read more - do any of his other books have the same level of author intervening, postmodern, self-confessional, self-criticising thing going on...?


That's it. Yeah, they all do, as far as I know. You'll love Slaughterhouse 5, then.

Jailbird is quite a different chacter than the usual Vonnegut, but turned out to be a charming and wonderful story all the same.

Don't you just love in Breakfast, the whole "machine" bit? Talking machine, crying machine, etc. I am a complaining machine. Hehehe.
Those who say that the totalitarian state of the Soviet Union was not "real" Marxism also cannot admit that one simple feature of Marxism makes totalitarianism necessary:  the rejection of civil society. Since civil society is the sphere of private activity, its abolition and replacement by political society means that nothing private remains. That is already the essence of totalitarianism; and the moralistic practice of the trendy Left, which regards everything as political and sometimes reveals its hostility to free speech, does nothing to contradict this implication.

When those who hated capital and consumption (and Jews) in the 20th century murdered some hundred million people, and the poster children for the struggle against international capitalism and America are now fanatical Islamic terrorists, this puts recent enthusiasts in an awkward position. Most of them are too dense and shameless to appreciate it, and far too many are taken in by the moralistic and paternalistic rhetoric of the Left.

Pedro

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« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2003, 02:58:40 PM »
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I've only read Cat's Cradle and Slaughterhouse Five.  Both are terrific.

AlguienEstolamiPantalones

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« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2003, 05:10:53 PM »
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and he wrote rodney dangerfields term paper in back to school

RegularKarate

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« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2003, 06:13:59 PM »
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I love his shit... went through a phase where I would only read books by him.  I think Breakfast and Slaughterhouse are my favs.

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« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2003, 08:53:41 PM »
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Yeah, I suddenly realized I've been meaning to read more of his stuff for years. I've read Slaughterhouse Five, which definitely made a big impression. I vaguely remember checking Cat's Cradle out of the library, but never actually reading it...I'll have to remedy that. Just as soon as I get through this latest stack from Half Price Books...

SHAFTR

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« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2003, 11:23:19 PM »
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Quote from: SantaClauseWasA BlackMan
and he wrote rodney dangerfields term paper in back to school


Back to School...filmed at UW-Madison.

I have only read Slaughterhouse-5 and I liked it alot.  I remember in HS I did a presentation on that book... I didn't prepare for the presentation outside of reading the book and did the entire thing improptu.
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« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2003, 11:00:36 AM »
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I've read Slaughterhouse 5 three times and glean new meaning from that brilliant fucking gold nugget each time; and of course, I keep Breakfast of Champions right up on the toilet (can never get enough of that book either!) :-D
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polkablues

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« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2003, 02:39:12 PM »
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I love his more recent stuff, which has gotten more and more autobiographical, like "Timequake" or "Palm Sunday".  "Timequake" is essentially a book about whatever pops into his head at any given moment; it's unconvential, but incredible.  But definitely someone reading him for the first time should start with "Cat's Cradle" or "Breakfast of Champions".
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« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2003, 11:07:43 PM »
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Vonnegut :(
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