God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, or Pearls Before Swine – Kurt Vonnegut (1965)

God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, or Pearls Before Swine, is a novel written by Kurt Vonnegut, published in 1965. It is the story of Eliot Rosewater, a millionaire who develops a social conscience, abandons New York City, and establishes the Rosewater Foundation in Rosewater, Indiana, ‘where he attempts to dispense unlimited amounts of love and limited sums of money to anyone who will come to his office.’  The Rosewater Foundation was founded by United States senator Lister Ames Rosewater of Indiana to help Rosewater descendants avoid paying taxes on the family estate in Rosewater County. It is operated by a large legal firm in New York and provides an annual pension of $3.5 million to Eliot, the senator’s son. Eliot, a World War II veteran and volunteer firefighter who has developed a social conscience, sets out across America visiting various small towns before landing in Rosewater. Eliot’s drunkenness, his generous relationship with the poor in Rosewater, and his odd relationship with his wife make him appear eccentric and mentally ill. Norman Mushari, a conniving lawyer, is determined to prove Eliot insane so that he can reroute a portion of the Rosewater fortune to unwitting distant Rosewater cousins in Rhode Island, thus earning a portion for himself. After experiencing a breakdown, Eliot spends a year in a mental institution where he is then visited by his father, lawyer and Kilgore Trout, his favorite science fiction author. He wills his fortune to fifty-seven children whom their mothers have claimed he fathered, and asks that they be fruitful and multiply. Stanley Schatt notes ‘the plot does not really do the book any justice, for in many ways it is Vonnegut‘s richest and most complex novel.’  The name Eliot Rosewater suggests a yoking together of opposites. ‘Eliot’ connects the young altruist to T.S. Eliot and his depiction of modern life as a spiritual wasteland devoid of love but surfeited with lust. ‘Rosewater’ can be seen as a combination of the names of the liberal Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the conservative Barry Goldwater. ‘It becomes apparent that Vonnegut was very much aware of the 1964 US presidential election while writing this novel.’ …”
NY Times: God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, Or Pearls Before Swine (1965)

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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1 Response to God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, or Pearls Before Swine – Kurt Vonnegut (1965)

  1. Redhead says:

    I’ve got this book, but i haven’t read it yet. Everytime I go to grab a Vonnegut, i always want to grab Cat’s Cradle or Deadeye Dick.

    Liked by 1 person

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