FT 07-H Wampeters, Foma, and Granfalloons: The Life and Work of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
J. Gregory Redding, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
Civic leaders in Indiana have designated 2007 "The Year of Vonnegut" in honor of favorite son Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. His death on April 11 of this year marked the passing of a unique voice in American literature. Vonnegut liked to think of himself as a latter-day Mark Twain. Like Twain, Vonnegut was a humorist, a satirist, and a lecturer, but he became a cultural icon thanks to novels like Cat's Cradle, Slaughterhouse-Five, and Breakfast of Champions. In this course we will discover his life and work by focusing primarily, but not exclusively, on the novels that made his reputation as a writer. We will read all or some of the following the novels: The Sirens of Titan; Mother Night: Cat's Cradle; God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater; Slaughterhouse-Five; Breakfast of Champions; and Timequake. We will also read a number of Vonnegut's essays published in book from (Palm Sunday, A Man Without a Country) and in various print media. Finally, we will broaden our focus to include the history of the Vonnegut family in Indianapolis as a means of understanding questions of identity evident in Vonnegut's work.