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Reflecting the Mind of the
Vatican since 1850
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Kurt Vonnegut: ‘So it goes’
November 11, 2022, marked the centenary of the birth of Kurt Vonnegut, considered one of the greatest writers of the golden age of science fiction. Together with Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Frank Herbert, H. G. Wells and Edgard Rice Burroughs – to name only the greatest and best known – he shaped our dreams and our nightmares, with stories and situations that have entered our collective imagination and generated further stories, on the small and big screens.

Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis on November 11, 1922. His family belonged to the cultured, rich and sophisticated middle class of German-American immigrants, which experienced a meltdown during the Great Depression. After his studies at Shortridge High School, where he discovered a passion for journalism, when the time came to choose university studies, pressure from his brother and father pushed him to choose a course in biochemistry and German at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York State.

Two tragedies – not the only ones in his life – awaited him: the death by suicide of his mother, unable to bear the shame of the social collapse, and the experience of war. In January 1943 Kurt decided to abandon his studies and serve as a volunteer infantryman. His military experience was brief and tragic. He enlisted in March 1943. Between enlisting and leaving for Europe, he experienced the tragedy of the death of his mother, who committed suicide on Mother’s Day, without any note of explanation or farewell. This event strongly marked Kurt, who made the absurdity of life a recurrent feature of his writing.
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