Sane lunacy : an evaluation of Joseph Heller's Catch-22 and the critical reaction to it

Byrne, Pat (1972) Sane lunacy : an evaluation of Joseph Heller's Catch-22 and the critical reaction to it. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

The critical reaction which greeted the publication of Joseph Heller's Catch-22 in 1961, and which continues to the present, suggests that Heller's novel moves, in terms of both style and tone, toward a method and a sensibility which are strikingly different from what the contemporary sensibility deems acceptable. A somewhat less than enthusiastic welcome from academic circles raises interesting questions concerning the direction of modern criticism. -- A consideration of Heller's other works prepares a background against which to view the achievement of Catch-22 and to evaluate the critical reaction to the novel. A further consideration, within the limited context of the war novel sub-genre to which it peripherally belongs, enables one to discover Heller's ultimate area of concern--the contemporary human condition. -- Heller's stylistic method is directly related to the tone of the novel and the sensibility which it embodies. In short, the absurdist techniques which the novel employs become a mirror image of a world gone mad. The result is that Catch-22 challenges the reader to re-evaluate certain traditional notions of what novels are and what the nature of society is. It is because the critics have, for the most part, refused to accept this challenge that their conclusions about the novel are inadequate.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7160
Item ID: 7160
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves [268]-288.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: 1972
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Heller, Joseph. Catch-22--Criticism and interpretation; Heller, Joseph--Appreciation

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