Joseph Heller

Joseph Heller, 1923–99, American writer, b. Brooklyn, N.Y. Heller is best known for his first novel, Catch-22 (1961). Set in World War II, it is a darkly humorous commentary on the illogic of war and bureaucracy. The title, which refers to an inescapable double bind, has entered the language. Heller dramatized his novel in 1971 and published a sequel, Closing Time, in 1994. His other works include the play We Bombed in New Haven (1967); the novels Something Happened (1974), Good As Gold (1979), God Knows (1984), and Picture This (1989); and the memoir Now and Then (1998). From his earliest writing days to his later career, Heller also wrote short stores, many of them included in Catch as Catch Can (2003).

See memoir by his daughter, E. Heller (2011); biography by T. Daugherty (2011); studies by R. Merrill (1987) and D. Seed (1989).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Classic Cult Fiction: A Companion to Popular Cult Literature
Thomas Reed Whissen.
Greenwood Press, 1992
Librarian’s tip: "Catch-22: Joseph Heller (1961)" begins on p. 55
A Dangerous Crossing: French Literary Existentialism and the Modern American Novel
Richard Lehan.
Southern Illinois University Press, 1973
Librarian’s tip: "Joseph Heller" begins on p. 162
Empire of Conspiracy: The Culture of Paranoia in Postwar America
Timothy Melley.
Cornell University Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Joseph Heller begins on p. 63
Pathological Communication Patterns in Heller's 'Catch-22.'
Moore, Michael.
ETC.: A Review of General Semantics, Vol. 52, No. 4, Winter 1995
Insanity as Redemption in Contemporary American Fiction: Inmates Running the Asylum
Barbara Tepa Lupack.
University Press of Florida, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Seeking a Sane Asylum: Catch-22"
Contemporary American Novelists
Harry T. Moore.
Southern Illinois University Press, 1964
Librarian’s tip: "Joseph Heller's Catch-22: Only Fools Walk in Darkness" begins on p. 134
The Day Bush Left
Heller, Joseph.
The Nation, Vol. 250, No. 22, June 4, 1990
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