Joseph Heller

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Heller, Joseph,

1923–99, American writer, b. Brooklyn, N.Y. Heller is best known for his first novel, Catch-22 (1961). Set in World War II, it is a darkly humorous commentary on the illogic of war and bureaucracy. The title, which refers to an inescapable double bind, has entered the language. Heller dramatized his novel in 1971 and published a sequel, Closing Time, in 1994. His other works include the play We Bombed in New Haven (1967); the novels Something Happened (1974), Good As Gold (1979), God Knows (1984), and Picture This (1989); and the memoir Now and Then (1998). From his earliest writing days to his later career, Heller also wrote short stores, many of them included in Catch as Catch Can (2003).


See memoir by his daughter, E. Heller (2011); biography by T. Daugherty (2011); studies by R. Merrill (1987) and D. Seed (1989).

Heller, Joseph

(1923–  ) writer; born in New York City. He studied at the University of Southern California, New York University (B.A. 1948), Columbia University (M.A. 1949), and Oxford, England (1949–50). He became an advertising writer and promotion manager in New York City (1952–56), and taught at various universities, notably at City College of New York, until 1975. He wrote for television, movies, and theater, but is best known for several novels, most notably his famous antiwar work, Catch-22 (1961).