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Joseph Heller letters reflecting about Catch-22 to be auctioned
Heller added later in the letter, “I was about thirty when I began thinking about Catch-22. These were the years of the cold war, the McCarthy period, the Eisenhower years, the Korean War, and it was a sensibility shaped by these factors that infused the book rather than my own literal experiences.
LOS ANGELES, CA.- Two Joseph Heller letters reminiscing on his epic war novel “Catch-22” will be auctioned at Nate D. Sanders’ Tuesday November 8, 2011 auction commemorating the 50th anniversary of the landmark war book. Heller wrote to Professor James Nagel of Northeastern University on March 13, 1974 regarding “Catch-22” and his personal war experiences. Heller stated that he “felt much differently about the war than Yossarian felt and much differently than I felt when I wrote the novel.”

Heller added later in the letter, “I was about thirty when I began thinking about Catch-22. These were the years of the cold war, the McCarthy period, the Eisenhower years, the Korean War, and it was a sensibility shaped by these factors that infused the book rather than my own literal experiences. The literary influences of which I was conscious from the beginning and throughout were Celine's Journey to the End of the Night, to which there is a stronger similarity in the early sections of Catch-22 than I intended (though not so strong a resemblance as Milton Hindus asserts in Mosiac, Spring 1973) and Nobokov's Laughter in the Dark, two books that just by chance happened to come into my hands almost successively. And almost immediately, it seems, the ideas for Catch-22 began parading through my mind. Falkner's [sic] Absolom! Absolom! and The Sound and the Fury, both of which I reread while planning, supplied separate ideas for the structure of different parts (I could specify but would rather not). And always present in my awareness, I believe, was T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland, which has had more to do, I believe, with shaping not merely the spirit but the structure of novels than is generally recognized. These were works that did, in one respect, or another, serve as actual models.”

An earlier letter that Heller wrote to Professor Nagel dated August 17, 1972 talks about the lead character in “Catch-22” Captain Yossarian. Heller typed, “Yossarian isn’t Jewish and was not intended to be; on the other hand, no effort was expended to make him anything else.”

Both Heller letters are estimated to sell between $2,000 and $5,000.

The auction ends Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 5 pm Pacific Standard Time.






Today's News

October 26, 2011

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Charles Dickens: Life and Legacy in new display at the National Portrait Gallery in London

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Photographer John Jansheski creates a home in Miami for unconventional artists

Frick acquires unique Sevres porcelain vase and important Renaissance drawing

Definitive film about American design icons Charles and Ray Eames to be premiered in the U.S.

Bonhams to sell Julia Margaret Cameron's intimate image of Virginia Woolf's mother, Julia Jackson

Matthew Day Jackson's first solo exhibition in Europe organized by Museum of Art Lucerne

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Most comprehensive retrospective of the work of Robert Breer at Museum Tinguely in Basel

Hepworth Wakefield presents 'The Unquiet Head' exhibition

Publisher, author and artist Fleur Cowles's archive donated to Harry Ransom Center

Joseph Heller letters reflecting about Catch-22 to be auctioned

Serge Gainsbourg autograph lyrics at auction in Paris

Tibetan artists transports 20,000 kg of soil from Tibet to Dharamasal India for art installation

Morphy's Nov. 12 sale features noted antique doll collection, private collection of early teddy bears

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