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Kurt Vonnegut, Author and Satirist

November 19, 2010
by Kate Brack
Kurt Vonnegut was known worldwide as a humorist, a humanist and for his use of black comedy in his writing.

Brief Biography of Kurt Vonnegut

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Nov. 11, 1922, Kurt Vonnegut attended Cornell University in the early 1940s before enlisting in the Army. During World War II he fought the Battle of the Bulge and was subsequently captured as a prisoner of war.

He was held as a POW in Germany at a meat locker named Schlachthof Funf (Slaughterhouse Five), which would later be the name of his influential novel released in 1969. Vonnegut witnessed first hand the controversial fire bombing of Dresden, which killed scores of people and left the city in ruins.

Other books include “Breakfast of Champions” (1973), “Jailbird” (1979), and “Deadeye Dick” (1982). Vonnegut died on April 11, 2007.

Resources for Studying Kurt Vonnegut

The Encyclopedia of World Biography offers a succinct biography.

The New York Times provides a detailed obituary and an archive of the Times’ content related to Vonnegut, including book reviews. It also features several articles written by Vonnegut himself between 1965 and 1990.

The Vonnegut Web offers biographical information, archives of Vonnegut’s writing from assorted newspapers and magazines, and book summaries from Gale Research’s “Contemporary Authors” and links to book reviews.

In These Times, a progressive Chicago-based magazine, has an archive of articles written by Vonnegut for the magazine between 1995 and 2005.

The Kurt Vonnegut Society is an organization of Vonnegut scholars who host a yearly conference. The Web site features essays on Vonnegut’s work that were presented at past conferences, and solicits lesson plans from teachers teaching Vonnegut., Vonnegut’s official Web site, sells silk screen prints and sculptures designed by Vonnegut himself with artist Joe Petro III.

The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library recently opened in Indianapolis; its Web site is a work in progress.

Letters of Note presents a letter written by Vonnegut to his family in May 1945, shortly after he was released from a German POW camp.

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