The Vonnegut Encyclopedia: An Authorized Compendium

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9780313292309: The Vonnegut Encyclopedia: An Authorized Compendium
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The Vonnegut Encyclopedia is the authorized, comprehensive, descriptive catalogue of the characters, themes, phrasing, and imagery found in Kurt Vonnegut's novels, short stories, plays, and essays. Starting with the false utopia governed by the ruling technocracy of Player Piano (1952) and on through Vonnegut's third collection of autobiographical and topical essays in Fates Worse Than Death (1991), the Encyclopedia enables the reader to recall the significance of any character (no matter how minor) and to trace the recurrence of characters and images across numerous texts. Additionally, Vonnegut's key images and inventive language are referenced to his first editions--the basis of his reprints--traceable down to the page and line number.

Vonnegut's four decades of writing yield a world of characters and social commentary at once disarming, disturbing, and authentic. Since one of the chief allures for Vonnegut afficionados is the reappearance of significant characters, settings, and concepts, readers will especially appreciate the detailed treatment each receives in its various narrative incarnations. When viewed from this perspective, Vonnegut's work reveals a world as colorfully peopled and politically aware as Dickens' or Twain's. It firmly places him in the family of great American writers noted for their unique characters and fully developed social sensibilities. His major fictions are synopsized, and his images and constructs are explained and illustrated through the concordance. Few modern writers have created such a large body of work whose narrative settings consistently address the human condition in the midst of great political, scientific, and historical forces. Vonnegut's philosophical vision is neatly tracked through the Encyclopedia's attention to the building blocks of each text.

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About the Author:

MARC LEEDS, a graduate of the University of Buffalo, New York University, and Brooklyn College, directed computer-based writing programs at East Tennessee State University and later at Shawnee State University in Ohio, commuting across five states to do so./e Leeds recently resigned from teaching to become a free-lance writer in Boca Raton, Florida, where he also concentrates on developing hypermedia databases and teaching others to incorporate high technology in the classroom. He is the coeditor of The Vonnegut Chronicles: Interviews and Essays (Greenwood, 1996).

Review:

.,."The Vonnegut Encyclopedia is an outstanding reference tool....It is indeed unfortunate that Vonnegut is not given the credit he deserves in the academy since he is undoubtedly one of America's finest social critics. This volume should serve to reinforce this fact."-H-Net Book Review

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