"So it Goes"?
November 5, 2008 4:07 PM   Subscribe

All "so it goes" references in Vonnegut's Bibliography?

I'm doing a paper on Kurt Vonnegut. Specifically it will cover my interpretation of his use of the phrase "so it goes" throughout his career and how it characterized his unique writing style.

How can I go about finding each time that phrase has popped up in something he has written, without having to manually go through each work?

This includes his novels, short stories, essays, and scripts. By my last count, I have him on 28 different written works, although that includes story collections and not individual stories.
posted by PaulingL to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
you could probably find pdf or some other electronic versions of his works online and then conveniently search within those.
posted by sero_venientibus_ossa at 4:18 PM on November 5, 2008

I believe the phrase "So it goes..." originated in Slaughterhouse Five. I'm not sure how often it was used in later works, but you can at least rule out everything before this.
posted by never used baby shoes at 4:18 PM on November 5, 2008

Go to books.google.com, search for each of his books, and then do a "search in this book" search for "so it goes".

Like so:


You will get a list with a bunch of pages where the phrase occurs. Mind you, I am not sure if it is exhaustive, since Google does want people to read these book online in their entirety, but it may give you most of the occurrences by far (at least in Slaughter-house 5, which has a lot)
posted by TheyCallItPeace at 4:28 PM on November 5, 2008

Better yet, go to books.google.com, sign in, and "add" the Vonnegut books you are interested in by using their ISBN (look them up on Amazon, say).

Then you can do those same searches, and it may be a bit more direct.

Not all books are searchable, however. Galapagos, for instance, is not.
posted by TheyCallItPeace at 4:33 PM on November 5, 2008

Have I mentioned you can search inside books on Amazon too?


It is amazing what kind of information one can access for free these days on the interwebs ...
posted by TheyCallItPeace at 4:39 PM on November 5, 2008

We did a huge study of "Slaughterhouse five" when I was a junior in HS. Our bonus question on the exam was how many times is the phrase found in the book. I was the only one that got it right. I think the answer was 151 but this was exactly 20 years ago so I'm not sure. Would love to know the answer when you find it. Great book by the way..
posted by pearlybob at 5:28 PM on November 5, 2008

Actually, "So it goes." originated in Mother Night, specifically its "introduction" (the part where Vonnegut talks to the reader, before the story starts, even though the introduction might as well be part of the story like it is in Slaughterhouse-Five, etc., etc.). Allen mentions this in Understanding Kurt Vonnegut, if you want a scholarly source.
posted by shadytrees at 8:24 AM on November 15, 2008

« Older We stopped the tide, but broke everything else   |   Magazine Tears Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.