Harold Bloom, editor
Joseph Heller's Catch-22.
Chelsea House, 281 pages, $45

Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 was published in 1961. After an initial smattering of mostly negative notices, the novel—helped by a canonizing New Republic piece by Robert Brustein, a fawning review by Nelson Algren in The Nation, and an expensive advertising campaign—became a success and then a phenomenon, eventually selling millions of copies around the world. These reviews and others, such as Norman Podhoretz’s sober reassessment of the novel in 2000, make for lively reading in the latest (and much improved) edition of Catch-22 in Harold Bloom’s Modern Critical Interpretations series. A mix of reviews, memoir, literary gossip, and scholarly analysis, the volume offers a feast of follies—the puerile adoration that greeted the novel, the ensuing orgy of congratulation and...

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