A Man Without a Country by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

By Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

A guy with out a kingdom is Kurt Vonnegut’s hilariously humorous and razor-sharp examine existence ("If I die—God forbid—I want to visit heaven to invite a person liable up there, ‘Hey, what was once the excellent news and what used to be the undesirable news?"), paintings ("To perform any artwork, regardless of how good or badly, is the way to make your soul develop. So do it."), politics ("I requested former Yankees pitcher Jim Bouton what he considered our nice victory over Iraq and he acknowledged, ‘Mohammed Ali as opposed to Mr. Rogers.’"), and the situation of the soul of the US this day ("What has occurred to us?").

Based on brief essays and speeches composed over the past 5 years and plentifully illustrated with art via the writer all through, a guy with out a state supplies us Vonnegut either talking out with indignation and writing tenderly to his fellow americans, occasionally joking, at different occasions hopeless, consistently looking.

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He did seek “better” appointments for a while, but entrenched in Laramie, he embraced his marginality twice over: Nelson was a sincerely committed member of the UW faculty till his retirement in 1938, while he plunged whole-heartedly into primary field and taxonomic work that his profession as a whole left behind. His position at Wyoming in fact allowed him to discover, express, and teach values of field learning he might easily have been distracted from elsewhere. To appreciate what was at stake in Nelson’s deepening commitment to fieldwork, it’s necessary to understand the direction scientific botany had taken by 1900, unfortunately for Nelson just as he began to like the idea of himself as a botanist.

The place is very much a library still. The herbarium has its own collection of noncirculating botanical books, shelved in one corner of the big room. All those cabinets likewise are a library of botanical history and knowledge, shelved by genus and species. Chaos and order, past and present, reign together in this place. A box of sedges collected and somehow overlooked in the 1890s surfaced mysteriously shortly before I visited for the first time in 1997; they were mounted and filed into the cabinets by the end of the twentieth century.

59 What became a lifetime of hiking up and down mountain slopes, sharing ice cream, shooing mosquitoes, and climbing trees was not just about systematic botany. The pleasures of fieldwork in Nelson’s backyard animated his practice of botany. Nelson’s career took shape initially in the wake of the development of professional natural sciences distinguishing themselves from the amateur work of naturalists, shutting those with insufficient credentials out of professional mobility. Nelson’s location in Wyoming, his sudden delight in botany, and his unabashed (if now dated) expressions of enthusiasm for nature, together gave him the motivation and the resources to use his science in the service of a broad public.

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