[Work: Catch-22, Joseph Heller, 1961]
Rocks and Hard Places Galore:

The Bureaucratic Appropriation of War in Joseph Heller’s Catch-22

 

Introduction:

Joseph Heller Sketch by M.R.P. - Catch-22 - bureaucracy, absurdity, morality

Caricature Sketch by M.R.P.
[High-res prints available here]

What do you get when you mix the surreal, atmospheric absurdism of Kafka’s best known works with the darkly comedic anti-war satire of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five? I would say that you get something very close to a book published about 40 years after Kafka’s death, and about 10 years before the publication of Vonnegut’s novel: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller.

I would make it no secret that Catch-22 is one of my personal favorite novels. It is a novel that represents a masterclass in the modernist and postmodernist technique of melding high culture and low culture, as well as tragedy and comedy. This article explores the dominant philosophy and masterful presentation of Heller’s most successful novel.

The nature of this article is such that it requires spoiling basic plot details of Catch-22, so you should only continue reading after this paragraph if you either do not mind spoilers or have already read the book.

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[Work: Catch-22, Joseph Heller, 1961]
Rocks and Hard Places Galore:

The Bureaucratic Appropriation of War in Joseph Heller’s Catch-22

was last modified: December 21st, 2017 by Daniel Podgorski