University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

Jerome Klinkowitz
papers relating to
Kurt Vonnegut

1969 - 1978

Manuscript Collection Number: 300
Accessioned: Gift of Jerome Klinkowitz, December 1984.
Extent: 2.3 linear ft.
Content: Correspondence, notes, bibliographies, articles, photographs, indices, galley proofs,
essays, addresses, and clippings.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: July 1994, by Anita A. Wellner.

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Table of Contents

Biographical Notes

Jerome Klinkowitz

English professor and writer Jerome Klinkowitz was born December 24, 1943, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from Marquette University in 1966 and 1967, respectively. In 1969 he received a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Klinkowitz has served on the English faculties of Northern Illinois University (1969-1972) and the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls (1972- ).

Klinkowitz has written or co-authored numerous critical works and bibliographies: Innovative Fiction (1972), The Vonnegut Statement (1973), Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1974), Literary Disruptions (1975), The Life of Fiction (1977), Vonnegut in America (1977), Donald Barthelme (1977), Writing Under Fire: stories of the Vietnam War (1978), The Diaries of Willard Motley (1979), and Hawthorne's Day to the Present (1980), The New American Novel of Manners (1986), Kurt Vonnegut: a comprehensive bibliography (1987), and Structuring the Void (1992).

In addition to these critical works, Klinkowitz has written a collection of stories, "Short Season" and Other Stories (1988); a book on jazz, Listen: Gerry Mulligan (1991); and a collection of baseball stories, Writing Baseball (1991). He has also contributed articles and reviews to Village Voice, Chicago Sun-Times Book Week, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Partisan Review, and other journals and periodicals.

A noted authority on the work of Kurt Vonnegut, Klinkowitz has not only written widely on his subject, but has lectured at conferences and symposiums as well.

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

American novelist Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. was born on November 11, 1922, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Between 1940 and 1947, Vonnegut attended classes at several universities, including Cornell University (1940-1942), Carnegie Institute of Technology (1943), and the University of Chicago (1945-1947). He received a Master of Arts from the University of Chicago in 1971.

During World War II, Vonnegut was an infantryman in the U.S. Army, who was subsequently captured and held as a prisoner of war in Dresden. He survived the February 13, 1945, firebombing of Dresden by the Allied forces, which took the lives of 135,000 German civilians. The story of Billy Pilgrim in Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five, is based on Vonnegut's Dresden experience.

Since his first novel, Player Piano, published by Scribner in 1952, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. has written twelve novels, including The Sirens of Titan (1959), Mother Night (1962), Cat's Cradle (1963), God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (1965), Slaughterhouse Five (1969), Breakfast of Champions (1973), Slapstick (1976), Jailbird (1979), Dead-Eye Dick (1982), Galapagos (1985), Bluebeard (1987), and Hocus Pocus (1990).

In addition to his novels, Vonnegut has written several plays, including Happy Birthday, Wanda June (1960) and Between Time and Timbuktu (1972); short fiction, collected in Canary in a Cathouse (1961) and Welcome to the Monkey House (1968); as well as essays, juvenile literature, and autobiographies. His two autobiographical "collages" (his subtitle for each) are titled Palm Sunday (1981) and Fates Worse than Death (1991).

A number of Vonnegut's novels have been produced as plays or films; of these, the most widely known is Universal's 1972 film version of Slaughterhouse Five.

In the 1990s Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. continues to write and to lecture at universities, churches, and national conferences. He is an outspoken opponent of censorship and war.


Evory, Ann (ed.) Contemporary Authors. New Revision Series, Volume 1. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1981. pp. 342-343.

May, Hal and Deborah A. Straub (eds.) Contemporary Authors. New Revision Series, Volume 25. Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1989. pp. 464-474.

Scope and Content Note

The Jerome Klinkowitz Papers Relating to Kurt Vonnegut span the years 1969-1978 and consist of 2.3 linear feet of notes, correspondence, bibliographies, articles, photographs, indices, galley proofs, essays, drafts, an address, and clippings. These materials were used by Jerome Klinkowitz in writing several books and essays related to Kurt Vonnegut.

The books represented in the papers are Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.: a descriptive bibliography and annotated secondary checklist (co-edited with Asa Pieratt, 1974), Vonnegut in America (co-edited with Donald Lawler, 1977) and The Vonnegut Statement (co-edited with John Somers, 1973). "Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. and the Crime of His Times" and "A Note on Vonnegut in Europe" are the two essays. Klinkowitz's address, "The Road Not Taken: a Do-It-Yourself New Book by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.," is also available in the papers. The major components of the papers are drafts, working notes, and correspondence.

The correspondence for Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Vonnegut in America (essays) and The Vonnegut Statement (essays), is extensive, providing information about the content and editing process for each of these books. The correspondence also outlines the search for a publisher for each publication. Seymour Lawrence, who was responsible for publishing Vonnegut's books during the 1970s and 1980s, published The Vonnegut Statement and Vonnegut in America. Archon Books, a division of Shoe String Press, published Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Klinkowitz's correspondence with Lawrence, Archon Books, his co-editors, and the contributors to the two volumes of essays frequently contains information on revisions to manuscripts or occasionally includes an essay.

Drafts of Klinkowitz's 1976 MLA address, "The Road Not Taken: a Do-It-Yourself New Book by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr." are found in Series IV. This address was later revised and included in Vonnegut in America.

Klinkowitz's two essays, "A Note on Vonnegut in Europe" (Series III) and "Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. and the Crime of His Times" (Series II) are represented in the collection by galley proofs, notes, typescript drafts, and correspondence.

Related collections:

Ms 99 Screenplay for Kurt Vonnegut's Slapstick

Ms 99 Photocopy of proofs for Vonnegut's Jailbird

Ms 99 Photocopy of proofs for Vonnegut's Palm Sunday

Ms 259 Seymour Lawrence Publishing Files Related to Kurt Vonnegut

Ms 299 Asa Pieratt Papers Relating to Kurt Vonnegut: a comprehensive bibliography

Ms 301 Asa Pieratt Collection of Kurt Vonnegut Ephemera

Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged in six series, each corresponding to the title of a book, address, or essay written by Klinkowitz. These series are arranged in alphabetical order. Within each series the arrangement is chronological.

Series Outline

I.   Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.: a descriptive bibliography
          and annotated secondary checklist, 1969-1974          

II.  "Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. and the Crime of His Times,"

III. "A Note on Vonnegut in Europe," [n.d.]                     

IV.  "The Road Not Taken: a do-it-yourself new book
          by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.," [1976]                        

V.   Vonnegut in America, 1975-1978                            

VI.  The Vonnegut Statement, 1971-1973           

Contents List

Box -- Folder -- Contents

1         Series I.  Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.: a descriptive bibliography and annotated
               secondary checklist (Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1974), 1969-1974
               Written by Asa Pieratt and Jerome Klinkowitz.  The series includes
               correspondence between Pieratt and Klinkowitz, with numerous enclosures
               of revised notes and bibliographic information, as well as correspondence
               with their editor at Archon Books, Frances T. Rutter, and with Seymour
               Lawrence.  The series also includes substantial correspondence with Fred
               Higginson (Nether Press), with whom Klinkowitz had originally contracted
               to publish the bibliography.   The 1974 contract with Archon Books,
               typescripts of portions of bibliography and the preliminary matter, student
               bibliographies on Vonnegut, notes and articles toward the bibliography,
               and a photograph of the cover of Utopia 14, complete the series.

          Series I.1.  Correspondence, 1970-1974
               See also the correspondence in Series VI. for mention of this bibliography.

     F1   1970
     F2   1971
     F3   1972 Jan-Feb
     F4   1972 Mar
     F5   1972 Apr
     F6   1972 May-Sep
     F7   1972 Oct
     F8   1972 Nov
     F9   1972 Dec

2    F10  1973 Jan-Apr
     F11  1973 Oct-Dec
     F12  1974
     F13  [n.d.]

          Series I.2.  Student bibliographies, 1970 Jun-Jul
               Bibliographies of Vonnegut's works as compiled by students in Jerome
               Klinkowitz's English 274 class.  Possibly used as sources of bibliographic
               information for Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

     F14  Eight bibliographies, 1970 Jun-Jul

          Series I.3.  Notes, library requests, articles, 1969-1972

     F15  Information gathered toward the bibliography, 1969-1972

2         Series I.  Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (cont'd)

          Series I.4.  Typescripts of the bibliography, 1972-1973

     F16  Typescript of sections B, E-F, K-N, [n.d.]
          Includes typescript sheets and autograph note cards for these sections, all of which
          bear extensive autograph corrections.

     F17  Preliminary matter, section A, and index, [1972]
          Includes autograph acknowledgments, preface, revised table of contents and index.

3    F18  Typescript sent to Nether Press, 1972 Apr 18
          Includes complete manuscript and index, plus a letter to Fred Higginson.

     F19  Typescript sent to Archon Books, [1973]
          Complete manuscript with photographs of Bantam's cover of Vonnegut's Utopia

4         Series II.  "Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and the Crime of His Times," 1970-1971
               Jerome Klinkowitz's article on Vonnegut, which was published in Critique
               (volume XII, number 3, 1971).

     F20  Correspondence, notes, 1970-1971

     F21  Typescript drafts of article, [1970-1971]

          Series III.  "A Note on Vonnegut in Europe," [n.d.]

     F22  Galley proof of essay, [n.d.]

          Series IV.  "The Road Not Taken: a do-it-yourself new book by Kurt
               Vonnegut, Jr.," [1976]
     F23  Drafts, [1976]
          Includes a letter to Seymour Lawrence and an offprint of the article "Who Am I
          This Time: die Romane von Kurt Vonnegut" by Manfred Putz.
4         Series V.  Vonnegut in America: an introduction to the life and work of Kurt
               Vonnegut (Delacorte, 1977), 1975-1978
               Co-edited with Donald L. Lawler, this collection of essays was originally
               titled "Aspects of Vonnegut." 

          Series V.1.  Correspondence, 1975-1978
               Includes correspondence between Klinkowitz and Seymour Lawrence, as
               well as with the authors of the essays.

     F24  1975-1976
     F25  1977 Jan-May
     F26  1977 Jun-1978 and [n.d.]

          Series V.2.  Drafts of essays toward the book, [1976-1977]

     F27  Outline, preface, notes on contributors, abstracts of essays, [1976]
          Also includes an essay by William Veeder and Willis McNelly, as well as
          Klinkowitz's "The Road Not Taken."

     F28  Drafts of Klinkowitz's title essay, "Vonnegut in America," [1976-1977]

5         Series VI.  The Vonnegut Statement: original essays on the life and work of
               Kurt Vonnegut (Delacorte, 1973), 1971-1973
               Edited by Jerome Klinkowitz and John Somer, this collection was
               originally titled "The Vonnegut Conspiracy."

          Series VI.1.  Correspondence, 1971-1973
               Includes letters to publishers, publishers' rejections, and correspondence
               with Seymour Lawrence, who accepted the book for publication in August,
               1971.  The letters to publishers included an introduction, a list of
               contributors, and a proposal for the book.  Also included are letters from
               the contributors, letters between Klinkowitz and Somer, and letters of
               appreciation following the book's publication.  Some of the letters from
               contributors and from Somer include enclosures, such as essays or
               corrected material for the book.  There is also mention of Kurt Vonnegut,
               Jr.: a descriptive bibliography in these letters.

     F29  1971 Mar-Jun
     F30  1971 Jul

6         Series VI.  The Vonnegut Statement (cont'd)
          Series VI.1.  Correspondence (cont'd)

     F31  1971 Aug
     F32  1971 Sep
     F33  1971 Oct
     F34  1971 Nov-Dec
     F35  1972 Jan-Jun
     F36  1972 Aug-Dec
     F37  1973
     F38  [n.d.]

          Series VI.2.  Book proposals sent to publishers, [1971] Included a preface,
              Klinkowitz's essays, and essays by Robert Scholes and Tim Hildebrand.

     F39  Early drafts of preface, introduction, and Klinkowitz's essays, [1971]

     F40  Mimeographed copy sent to publishers, [1971]

     F41  Proposal with revisions sent to Seymour Lawrence, 1971

          Series VI.3.  "Chapter One: Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. : The Canary in a
               Cathouse," 1971 Oct 9

     F42  Typescript copies with revisions and notes, 1971 Oct 9

7         Series VI.4.  Essays, [1971-1972]
               Includes some of the original manuscripts bearing extensive corrections by
               editors, Somer and Klinkowitz.

     F43  Essays by Jerome Klinkowitz, Karen and Charles Wood, Jess Ritter, Robert
          Scholes, and James Mellard, [1971-1972]

          Series VI.5.  Bibliography, 1971

     F44  Drafts of bibliography and correspondence with Stanley Schatt, 1971
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