Study Guide

Catch-22 Criticism

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When a chapter of Catch-22 was first published as a novel-in-progress in 1955, Joseph Heller got several letters of encouragement from editors.

Then, when the finished book was published in 1961, Orville Prescott of the New York Times described it as "a dazzling performance that will outrage nearly as many readers as it delights." Half the reviews were positive, but the other half were negative, and some were downright scathing. New York Times Book Review contributor Richard G. Stem said the novel "gasps for want of craft and sensibility," "is repetitious and monotonous," "is an emotional hodgepodge" and certainly no novel, and, finally, that It "fails" The structure was problematic for some acclaimed author Norman Mailer said in Esquire: "One could take out a hundred pages anywhere from middle... and not even the author could be certain they were gone." New Yorker critic Whitney Balliett said It "doesn't even seem...

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This section contains 975 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Catch-22 Study Guide
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Catch-22 from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.