Hard Cover. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1961. First Edition. Very Good / Dust Jacket Included.
First edition, first printing. Signed and inscribed by Heller on front free endpaper: "To Edith Hawkins - With warmest good wishes, and with great comfort in the knowledge that you enjoy it. Joe Heller. October 24, 1961. New York." Publisher's light blue cloth, lettered in white to spine, top edge stained red; in the original dust jacket designed by Paul Bacon. Very good book, with some toning to spine ends and edges of boards, light fading to spine, some fading to top stain, and a touch of staining to top edge of text block; very good price-clipped dust jacket, with some rubbing to rear panel, light fading to spine, some minor wear to spine ends and panel edges, some wear and tape repair to verso. Overall, a pleasing copy, scarcely found inscribed. Considered one of the greatest novels of the 20th century, Catch-22 is a satirical text that tells the story of United States Air Force Captain John Yossarian during World War II. Heller coined the term "Catch-22," a paradoxical situation in which a given problem's solution is inherently denied by the nature of the problem. In this novel, the "catch-22" is Yossarian's enrollment in the Army; in order to be discharged, a soldier must be proven insane, but by completing the discharge application one essentially proves his or her own sanity. Based on Heller's own experience in the Air Corps, Catch-22 combines realistic depictions of war scenes with satirical paradoxes that border on the unreal. As Orville Prescott agrees in his 1961 review for The New York Times, "Catch-22 is realistic in its powerful accounts of bombing missions with men screaming and dying and planes crashing. But most of Mr. Heller's story rises above mere realism and soars into the stratosphere of satire, grotesque exaggeration, fantasy, farce and sheer lunacy." Paul Bacon is a prolific American illustrator and dust jacket designer, best known for his "Big Book Look." His dust jacket design for Catch-22 is exemplary of this style, with large prominent text accompanied by a small, conceptual design. Interestingly, Bacon described the Catch-22 jacket as his "most difficult," since he created over 10 designs before making the final illustration. Other notable dust jackets include Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five (1969), William Styron's Confessions of Nat Turner (1967), and Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962). In total, Bacon has designed jackets for over 5,000 books. Item #JH021