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Kurt Vonnegut – A Critical Study – Preface

The novels of Kurt Vonnegut have attracted critical attention in recent years, but little in the way of in depth study. His novels are often noted as examples of post – modernism and metafiction, but in the main are just listed as such. In addition, the vast majority of critical analysis that has been done is written by American critics.

I hope to provide an objective view of Vonnegut and the America of which he writes. Vonnegut first found success as a writer of science fiction. Novels such as Player Piano and The Sirens of Titan are fine examples of the genre, written in a very distinctive style. He has since found himself pigeon – holed in the science fiction genre and as such was ignored as a writer worthy of serious critical attention for many years. In order to show the scope of his abilities, I am concentrating on three neglected novels from across his career whose subject matter is founded purely on Earth, Jailbird, Bluebeard, and Mother Night, and his most famous work, Slaughterhouse Five.

I intend to highlight some of the particular qualities of his writing, his extraordinary characterisation, his imaginative techniques of form and what they combine to produce.

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