Cover image for At millennium's end : new essays on the work of Kurt Vonnegut
At millennium's end : new essays on the work of Kurt Vonnegut
Boon, Kevin Alexander, 1956-
Publication Information:
Albany : State University of New York Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xii, 204 pages ; 23 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3572.O5 Z535 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Collected essays by noted scholars covering the breadth and influence of Kurt Vonnegut's literature.

Author Notes

Kevin Alexander Boon is Assistant Professor of English at Penn State Mont Alto. His previous books include Absolute Zero and Chaos Theory and the Interpretation of Literary Texts: The Case of Kurt Vonnegut.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

The prolific novelist, essayist and short story writer Kurt Vonnegut occupies an ambiguous position in the canon of postmodern American literature. Unclassifiable as either lowbrow or highbrow, his works teem with apocalyptic visions and alienated heroes; they are rarely studied in an academic context, which makes this collection something of an oddity. This volume, edited by Boon, who teaches American studies at SUNY-Maritime, mainly covers what will be familiar territory for Vonnegut fans: his obsession with humanity's loss of morality in the machine age and the certainty of technological disaster, and his reluctance to be labeled a science-fiction writer. Half of the essays consider (at more length than might have been thought possible) Vonnegut's relationship to technology and humanism. The rest cover a hodgepodge of topics, ranging from Vonnegut's use of quantum theory to his relationship to Hemingway and his translation into film. The collection suffers somewhat from a case of academic myopia; it seems ironic that Vonnegut, one of the most deft stylists of his time, could inspire an observation like this: "Either Vonnegut is celebrating the dualistic ascendancy of the body or, far more probably, the indivisibility of the body-soul unity, with `body' and `soul,' like `form' and `content,' being two different ways of talking about the same irreducible thing." Though Vonnegut may yet become a more central figure of academic study, this collection does little to further the case. For most of his readers it will mainly serve as a reminder that the pleasures of reading Vonnegut himself easily eclipse the pleasures of reading his dry expositors. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This tribute to Vonnegut includes 11 original essays by noted scholars who examine the author's stories, novels, and essays and celebrate his lifelong literary achievement. Chapters with titles like "What To Do When a Pool-Pah Is Your Zah-mah-ki-bo" and "Vonnegut and Aesthetic Humanism" discuss Vonnegut's attitude toward progress, quarrel with technology, and complex response to Ernest Hemingway. In a brief foreword, Vonnegut describes himself as a born moralist, much in the tradition of Mark Twain, and it is his sense of morality his humanist vision that becomes a common thread linking several of the essays. The final chapter on Vonnegut's films, by Boon and David Pringle, provides an insightful analysis of the difficulties of adapting his texts to the screen. This handy overview of Vonnegut's oeuvre, which includes chapters by Jerome Klinkowitz, Loree Rackstraw, Donald E. Morse, and others, will provide grist for research papers long into the next millennium. Recommended for all literature collections. William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.