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Kurt Vonnegut

Születési dátum: 11. november 1922
Halál dátuma: 11. április 2007
Más nevek: Vonegut, Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Kurt Vonnegut amerikai regényíró és esszéista. Pályája kezdetétől 1975-ig Kurt Vonnegut Jr. néven írt. A 20. század második felén átívelő írói munkássága a kortárs amerikai irodalom és ellenkultúra egyik legnagyobb és legnépszerűbb alakjává, kultikus figurájává avatta.

A kevéssé termékeny írók közé tartozott: tizennégy regényt, háromkönyvnyi elbeszélést, pár esszékötetet és visszaemlékezést írt, műveinek irodalmi értéke azonban kiemelkedő. Humanista világnézete, bölcs társadalombírálata, kritikus, de a kíméletlenségig őszinte egyénisége, szarkasztikus humora, sajátos hangulat- és világteremtő képzelete vitathatatlanul a 20. századi irodalom legnagyobb hatású íróegyéniségei közé emelte. Ellenlábasai szerint alapvetően kommunisztikus, Amerika- és kereszténységellenes eszmeisége is felelőssé tehető a 20. század végi amerikai társadalom morális válságáért.Legismertebb és világszerte legtöbb kiadást megért regényei a Macskabölcső, Az ötös számú vágóhíd és a Bajnokok reggelije. Magyarul megjelent valamennyi regénye, továbbá két-két önéletrajzi, elbeszélés- és esszékötete is. Több regényét ő maga illusztrálta hanyag vonalvezetésű, egyéni rajzaival.

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Kurt Vonnegut

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„I thought scientists were going to find out exactly how everything worked, and then make it work better.“

—  Kurt Vonnegut

Bennington College address (1970)
Kontextus: I thought scientists were going to find out exactly how everything worked, and then make it work better. I fully expected that by the time I was twenty-one, some scientist, maybe my brother, would have taken a color photograph of God Almighty — and sold it to Popular Mechanics magazine.
Scientific truth was going to make us so happy and comfortable. What actually happened when I was twenty-one was that we dropped scientific truth on Hiroshima.

„They were doing their best to live like people invented in story books.“

—  Kurt Vonnegut, könyv Bajnokok reggelije

Breakfast of Champions (1973)
Kontextus: I thought Beatrice Keedsler had joined hands with other old-fashioned storytellers to make people believe that life had leading characters, minor characters, significant details, insignificant details, that it had lessons to be learned, tests to be passed, and a beginning, a middle, and an end.
As I approached my fiftieth birthday, I had become more and more enraged and mystified by the idiot decisions made by my countrymen. And then I had come suddenly to pity them, for I understood how innocent and natural it was for them to behave so abominably, and with such abominable results: They were doing their best to live like people invented in story books. This was the reason Americans shot each other so often: It was a convenient literary device for ending short stories and books.
Why were so many Americans treated by their government as though their lives were as disposable as paper facial tissues? Because that was the way authors customarily treated bit-part players in their madeup tales.
And so on.
Once I understood what was making America such a dangerous, unhappy nation of people who had nothing to do with real life, I resolved to shun storytelling. I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as important as any other. All facts would also be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. I would bring chaos to order, instead, which I think I have done.
If all writers would do that, then perhaps citizens not in the literary trades will understand that there is no order in the world around us, that we must adapt ourselves to the requirements of chaos instead.
It is hard to adapt to chaos, but it can be done. I am living proof of that: It can be done.

„The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die.“

—  Kurt Vonnegut, könyv Slaughterhouse-Five

Billy writing a letter to a newspaper describing the Tralfamadorians
Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)
Kontextus: The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist. The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different moments just that way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever.
When a Tralfamadorian sees a corpse, all he thinks is that the dead person is in bad condition in the particular moment, but that the same person is just fine in plenty of other moments. Now, when I myself hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralfamadorians say about dead people, which is "So it goes."

„You're the only ones zany enough to agonize over time and distance without limit, over mysteries that will never die, over the fact that we are right now determining whether the space voyage for the next billion years or so is going to be Heaven or Hell.“

—  Kurt Vonnegut, könyv God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

"Eliot Rosewater" to a group of science fiction writers
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (1965)
Kontextus: I love you sons of bitches. You’re all I read any more. You're the only ones who’ll talk all about the really terrific changes going on, the only ones crazy enough to know that life is a space voyage, and not a short one, either, but one that’ll last for billions of years. You’re the only ones with guts enough to really care about the future, who really notice what machines do to us, what wars do to us, what cities do to us, what big, simple ideas do to us, what tremendous misunderstanding, mistakes, accidents, catastrophes do to us. You're the only ones zany enough to agonize over time and distance without limit, over mysteries that will never die, over the fact that we are right now determining whether the space voyage for the next billion years or so is going to be Heaven or Hell.

„Democracy owed its life to know-how.“

—  Kurt Vonnegut, könyv Player Piano

Forrás: Player Piano (1952), Chapter 1 (p. 9)
Kontextus: During the war, in hundreds of Iliums over America, managers and engineers learned to get along without their men and women, who went to fight. It was the miracle that won the war — production with almost no manpower. In the patois of the north side of the river, it was the know-how that won the war. Democracy owed its life to know-how.

„Bad guys turned informer. Good guys didn't — no matter when, no matter what.“

—  Kurt Vonnegut, könyv Player Piano

Forrás: Player Piano (1952), Chapter 31 (p. 293)
Kontextus: Here it was again, the most ancient of roadforks, one that Paul had glimpsed before, in Kroner's study, months ago. The choice of one course or the other had nothing to do with machines, hierarchies, economics, love, age. It was a purely internal matter. Every child older than six knew the fork, and knew what the good guys did here, and what the bad guys did here. The fork was a familiar one in folk tales the world over, and the good guys and the bad guys, whether in chaps, breechclouts, serapes, leopardskins, or banker's gray pinstripes, all separated here.
Bad guys turned informer. Good guys didn't — no matter when, no matter what.

„Jokes can be noble. Laughs are exactly as honorable as tears. Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion, to the futility of thinking and striving anymore.“

—  Kurt Vonnegut, könyv Palm Sunday

"Palm Sunday", a sermon delivered at St. Clement's Church, New York City (ndg), originally published in The Nation as "Hypocrites You Always Have With You" (ndg)
Palm Sunday (1981)
Kontextus: Jokes can be noble. Laughs are exactly as honorable as tears. Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion, to the futility of thinking and striving anymore. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward — and since I can start thinking and striving again that much sooner.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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