Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, First Edition, First Printing, in Original Dust Jacket, 1961

Heller, Joseph. Catch-22. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1961. First edition, first printing. Octavo. In original blue cloth boards, stamped in white. In the original unclipped dust jacket. Presented with a new archival ¼ leather and cloth clamshell. 

Presented is the first edition, first printing of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. Catch-22 was published by Simon and Schuster, in October of 1961. This book is presented in the original publisher’s blue cloth boards, titled and embossed in white, and the original, unclipped dust-jacket. The Simon and Schuster “A Note to the Reader” postcard is laid in. The book comes with a new, archival ¼ leather and cloth clamshell. 

Catch-22 was Joseph Heller’s first novel and his most acclaimed work. Set during World War II, the novel uses a unique, non-chronological third-person narration, mainly focusing on the life of a B-25 bombardier in the U.S. Army, Captain John Yossarian, and his attempts to avoid bombing runs. Both the title and plot device, “Catch-22” refers to an Air Forces regulation which asserts that a man is considered insane if he willingly agrees to fly dangerous combat missions, but that if he makes the formal request to be relieved of such missions, the very act of making the request proves that he is sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved." By the end of the novel, the phrase is invoked as the explanation for many unreasonable restrictions. “Catch-22” has since entered the English lexicon. 

Heller spent eight years writing "Catch-22," and used his own war experiences as inspiration for the novel.  From 1942 to 1945, Heller served as a combat bombardier in the Twelfth Air Force and was stationed on the Island of Corsica. Upon publication, the book was not an immediate bestseller, but did elicit glowing reviews from some. “Wildly original, brilliantly comic, brutally gruesome, it is a dazzling performance that will probably outrage nearly as many readers as it delights. In any case, it is one of the most startling first novels of the year and it may make its author famous” (Orville Prescott, New York Times). 

It became a publishing sensation thanks to the 1962 paperback edition, which set record sales and benefited from the national debate surrounding the Vietnam War. In the decades since, it has inspired a feature film, a miniseries, a 50-character stage play, and sold more than 10 million copies. Catch-22 was ranked as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century by the Modern Library and one of the 100 greatest novels of all time by The Observer. 


Very good condition. Octavo. In the publisher's original blue cloth boards, with white stamped lettering on a smooth spine. Top edge stained reddish orange, fore-edge untrimmed. In the original illustrated dust jacket. Dust jacket is unclipped, with the original $5.95 price on the bottom of the front flap and author's picture on the back panel with no blurbs. Light wear along panel edges. Dust jacket is wrapped in new mylar. The interior pages are clean and healthy. Stated “First Printing” appears on the copyright page. The original pre-printed Simon and Schuster "A Note to the Reader" postcard laid in. 443 pp. 

Presented with a new, custom archival ¼ blue leather and red cloth clamshell. Clamshell has raised bands, gilt titles, stamps, and tooling to the leather spine. An inlay of the original dust jacket on the front of the clamshell.

Book Dimensions: 8 3/4" H x 6" W x 1 3/4" D.  Slipcase dimensions: 10" H x 7" W x 2 3/8" D. 

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