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About Joseph Heller
Joseph Heller was born in 1923 in Brooklyn, New York. He served as a bombardier in the Second World War and then attended New York University and Columbia University and then Oxford, the last on a Fullbright scholarship. He then taught for two years at Pennsylvania State University, before returning to New York, where he began a successful career in the advertising departments of Time, Look and McCall's magazines. It was during this time that he had the idea for Catch-22. Working on the novel in spare moments and evenings at home, it took him eight years to complete and was first published in 1961. His second novel, Something Happened was published in 1974, Good As Gold in 1979 and Closing Time in 1994. He is also the author of the play We Bombed in New Haven.
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Titles By Joseph Heller
Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read.
Now a Hulu limited series starring Christopher Abbott, George Clooney, Kyle Chandler, and Hugh Laurie.
Fifty years after its original publication, Catch-22 remains a cornerstone of American literature and one of the funniest—and most celebrated—books of all time. In recent years it has been named to “best novels” lists by Time, Newsweek, the Modern Library, and the London Observer.
Set in Italy during World War II, this is the story of the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. But his real problem is not the enemy—it is his own army, which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempt to excuse himself from the perilous missions he’s assigned, he’ll be in violation of Catch-22, a hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes a formal request to be removed from duty, he is proven sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved.
This fiftieth-anniversary edition commemorates Joseph Heller’s masterpiece with a new introduction by Christopher Buckley; a wealth of critical essays and reviews by Norman Mailer, Alfred Kazin, Anthony Burgess, and others; rare papers and photos from Joseph Heller’s personal archive; and much more. Here, at last, is the definitive edition of a classic of world literature.
In Closing Time, Joseph Heller returns to the characters of Catch-22, now coming to the end of their lives and the century, as is the entire generation that fought in World War II: Yossarian and Milo Minderbinder, the chaplain, and such newcomers as little Sammy Singer and giant Lew, all linked, in an uneasy peace and old age, fighting not the Germans this time, but The End. Closing Time deftly satirizes the realities and the myths of America in the half century since WWII: the absurdity of our politics, the decline of our society and our great cities, the greed and hypocrisy of our business and culture -- with the same ferocious humor as Catch-22.
Closing Time is outrageously funny and totally serious, and as brilliant and successful as Catch-22 itself, a fun-house mirror that captures, at once grotesquely and accurately, the truth about ourselves.
Something Happened is Joseph Heller's wonderfully inventive and controversial second novel satirizing business life and American culture. The story is told as if the reader was overhearing the patter of Bob Slocum's brain -- recording what is going on at the office, as well as his fantasies and memories that complete the story of his life. The result is a novel as original and memorable as his Catch-22.
It all began one typical day in the life of Joe Heller. He was jogging four miles at a clip these days, working on his novel God Knows, coping with the complications of an unpleasant divorce, and pigging out once or twice a week on Chinese food with cronies like Mel Brooks, Mario Puzo, and his buddy of more than twenty years, Speed Vogel. He was feeling perfectly fine that day—but within twenty-four hours he would be in intensive care at Manhattan's Mount Sinai Hospital. He would remain hospitalized for nearly six months and leave in a wheelchair.
Joseph Heller had Guillain-Barré syndrome, a debilitating, sometimes fatal condition that can leave its victims paralyzed from head to toe. The clan gathered immediately. Speed—sometime artist, sometime businessman, sometime herring taster, and now a coauthor—moved into Joe's apartment as messenger, servant, and shaman. Mel Brooks, arch-hypochondriac of the Western world, knew as much about Heller's condition as the doctors. Mario Puzo, author of the preeminent gangster novel of our time, proved to be the most reluctant man ever to be dragged along on a hospital visit. These and lots of others rallied around the sickbed in a show of loyalty and friendship that not only built a wild and spirited camaraderie but helped bring Joe Heller, writer and buddy extraordinaire, through his greatest crisis.
This book is an inspiring, hilarious memoir of a calamitous illness and the rocky road to recuperation—as only the author of Catch-22 and the friend who helped him back to health could tell it. No Laughing Matter is as wacky, terrifying, and greathearted as any fiction Joseph Heller ever wrote.
Years before the publication of Catch-22—which was called “a monumental artifact of contemporary literature” by The New York Times, “an apocalyptic masterpiece” by the Chicago Sun-Times, and “one of the most bitterly funny works in the language” by The New Republic—Joseph Heller began sharpening his skills as a writer, searching for the voice that would best express his own peculiarly wry view of the world.
In Catch As Catch Can, editors Matthew J. Bruccoli and Park Bucker have for the first time collected the short stories Heller published prior to that first novel, along with all the other short pieces of fiction and nonfiction that were published during his lifetime. Also included are five previously unpublished short stories, most reflecting the influence on Heller of urban naturalist writers such as Irwin Shaw and Nelson Algren.
The result is an important and significant addition to our understanding and appreciation of Joseph Heller, showing his evolution as a writer and artist. For those unfamiliar with his work, it will serve as an excellent introduction; for everyone else, Catch As Catch Can is a chance to explore a new aspect of Heller's remarkable career.
Un clásico moderno absolutamente rompedor sobre el sinsentido de la guerra en una nueva edición con prólogo de Laura Fernández.
Trampa-22 es uno de los mejores libros del siglo xx y ha sido recientemente adaptado como miniserie televisiva protagonizada por George Clooney y Christopher Abott.
Durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial, en el hospital de la base norteamericana de una minúscula isla italiana, un piloto de bombardero llamado Yossarian finge estar loco. Quiere evitar a toda costa perder la vida en su próxima misión aérea y regresar a casa. ¿Por qué demonios intentan todos matarle desde abajo?, se pregunta cada vez que lanza una bomba. Yossarian intenta demostrar que está loco pero cae en la «trampa 22»: una absurda y perversa regla militar que afirma que aquellos que alegan locura para no ir a la guerra son los más cuerdos. Y si estás cuerdo, estás sano, así que... ¡no te queda otra!
Publicada originalmente en 1961, Trampa 22 es sin lugar a dudas una de las obras maestras más divertidas y celebradas de todos los tiempos y una piedra angular de la tradición literaria norteamericana, que le ha valido estar en las listas de los mejores libros del siglo xx. El lector se sumergirá en una ráfaga de situaciones absurdas y diálogos delirantes que subrayan la estupidez de la guerra y del ser humano. Y es que «el infierno somos, y hemos sido siempre, nosotros», apunta Laura Fernández en el prólogo. «Si iba a describir un infierno, sería uno rabiosamente divertido. Porque así de ridículo es el mundo. [...] para que esta humanidad trate de aprender algo de sí misma.»
«No hay ningún libro como este [...] sorprendentemente poderoso.»
Norman Mailer, Esquire
«Trampa 22 es la única novela bélica que he leído que tiene sentido.»
«Novela bomba [...]. Heller no solo descubrió "el lado gracioso" de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, sino que, además, anticipó las horriblemente hilarantes alucinaciones de Vietnam abriendo paso y escotillas para soltar absurdistas y entrópicos como Vonnegut, Berger, Kesey, Barthelme, Brautigan, Pynchon, Elkin, Friedman y Hunter Thompson y, más cerca, Wallace, Saunders y Palahniuk.»
Rodrigo Fresán, Babelia, El País
«Una de las obras más terriblemente divertidas en el uso del lenguaje [...]. Explosiva, implacable, subversiva, brillante.»
Robert Brustein, The New Republic
«Trampa 22 es una novela que nos recuerda una vez más todo aquello que hemos dado por supuesto en nuestro mundo y que no deberíamos, la locura que intentamos que pase desapercibida, las decepciones y las mentiras que no tenemos la voluntad de discernir de la verdad.»
John W. Adridge, The New York Times Review
«A mi parecer, en los últimos cincuenta años ha habido dos grandes novelas nort
Here is his Coney Island childhood, down the block from the world's most famous amusement park. It was the height of the Depression, it was a fatherless family, yet little Joey Heller had a terrific time--on the boardwalk, in the ocean (dangerously out of his depth), playing follow-the-leader in and out of local bars, even in school. Then a series of jobs, from delivering telegrams (on his first bike) to working in a navy yard-until Pearl Harbor, the air force, Italy. And after the war, college (undreamed-of before the G.I. Bill), teaching, Madison Avenue, marriage, and-always-writing. And finally the spectacular success of Catch-22, launching one of the great literary careers.
The strengths of Now and Then lie in the energy, humor, and mischief that have characterized all of Heller's work, along with the dark undertones that lie beneath them. He brings back a Coney Island that is not only a symbol of fun and fantasy around the world but a vision of what seems today to have been a golden age of carefree innocence. For the first time, he writes about the people and the events, both tragic and hilarious, he was eventually to translate, in Catch-22, into such memorable characters as Hungry Joe, Orr, Major--de Coverley, Natel's whore, and (of course) Yossarian, and such moving and frightening scenes as the death of Snowden. Now and Then is both an account of a remarkable life and a glimpse into the creative process of a major American writer.
Moses Hess's achievement can be understood only in the light of the conditions of Jewish life in Western Europe during the 19th century. This was the period of Emancipation. The price for the rights of the Jewish individual was the abandonment of national aspirations and assimilation within the Gentile environment. This policy towards the Jews was formulated during the French Revolution when one of its leaders declared : "The Jews, conscious of the error of their ways, have felt the need for a fatherland; we have offered them ours." There was no question of giving the Jewish people—as a people—an equal status among the nations of the world. The ideasequal rights; to the Jews as a collective entity—nothing.
The result was that young Jews—yearning for freedom— were abandoning the faith of their fathers like a "scuttled ship." While Moses Mendelssohn had advised combining general culture with the Jewish way of life, his followers found Judaism a heavy burden. They fell an easy prey to the ridicule of the Jewish beliefs among those Christians with whom they assimilated. They acquired an inferiority complex towards everything connected with Jewish life. The outside world was for them progress and liberty; Judaism—a survival of the Middle Ages and the Ghetto. A few years after Mendelssohn's death, several of his children and grandchildren became converts to Christianity.
Protagonista è l’antieroico bombardiere americano Yossarian, ossessionato dall’idea che migliaia di persone sconosciute, alle quali lui personalmente non ha fatto nulla, tentino continuamente di porre fine ai suoi giorni. La storia è popolata di personaggi stravaganti e irreparabilmente maniaci, che nella zelante applicazione della disciplina marziale mettono in ridicolo la ferrea e folle logica del Comma 22.
Pubblicato per la prima volta nel 1963, questo romanzo è stato universalmente riconosciuto come il capolavoro della letteratura antimilitarista di tutti i tempi, per la rappresentazione grottesca della retorica militare della morte. Molti dei pacifisti che manifestavano davanti alla Casa Bianca ai tempi del Vietnam portavano appunto una spilla con lo slogan “Yossarian vive”.
Da questo romanzo la serie Sky Original CATCH-22 diretta, prodotta e interpretata da George Clooney.