In 1969, I took a class at the University of Michigan that was taught – briefly – by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. He had just finished writing Slaughterhouse Five, which I thought was a satirical novel until I learned that Vonnegut had been a prisoner of war during World War II and had survived the Allied bombing of Dresden in an underground meat locker, which was used as an ad hoc detention facility.
The German guards called the building Schlachthof Fünf and the POWs called it Slaughterhouse Five. That’s when I also learned that the postmodernism literary movement tends to resist definition. Read more