Wednesday, 31 October 2012

LETTERS OF NOTE: A Double Dose of Vonnegut

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To close out October, here's a Letters of Note entirely unrelated to Hallowe'en. In fact, it's not one letter, but two, both from Kurt Vonnegut and both taken from a new collection of Vonnegut's correspondence that has just been published.

The second, and less interesting letter, finds the author writing to a schoolteacher in Fenelon Falls, Ontario, Canada in 1988, following a row that had erupted over some of his short stories being included on the Canadian curriculum. Yes, I know I promised no more stuff on censorship for a while, but hey, it's Kurt Vonnegut, give me a break.

The first letter, however, is Vonnegut writing to his son's draft sergeant, defending his decision to be a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War. It's one of the most spirited defences against accusations of cowardice that I've ever come across, made all the more powerful by Vonnegut's own involvement in World War II (an experience that shaped Slaughterhouse-Five).

You can find both letters here. I hope you all had a pleasant Hallowe'en, and thanks for following my blog all this time. There's more great content coming your way in November and December, with a review of Killing Them Softly just around the corner...

Daniel

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