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Catch-22: 50th Anniversary Edition
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Catch-22: 50th Anniversary Edition [Format Kindle]

Joseph Heller , Christopher Buckley
4.6 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (12 commentaires client)

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Descriptions du produit

There was a time when reading Joseph Heller's classic satire on the murderous insanity of war was nothing less than a rite of passage. Echoes of Yossarian, the wise-ass bombardier who was too smart to die but not smart enough to find a way out of his predicament, could be heard throughout the counterculture. As a result, it's impossible not to consider Catch-22 to be something of a period piece. But 40 years on, the novel's undiminished strength is its looking-glass logic. Again and again, Heller's characters demonstrate that what is commonly held to be good, is bad; what is sensible, is nonsense.

Yossarian says, "You're talking about winning the war, and I am talking about winning the war and keeping alive."
"Exactly," Clevinger snapped smugly. "And which do you think is more important?"
"To whom?" Yossarian shot back. "It doesn't make a damn bit of difference who wins the war to someone who's dead."
"I can't think of another attitude that could be depended upon to give greater comfort to the enemy."
"The enemy," retorted Yossarian with weighted precision, "is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he's on."
Mirabile dictu, the book holds up post-Reagan, post-Gulf War. It's a good thing, too. As long as there's a military, that engine of lethal authority, Catch-22 will shine as a handbook for smart-alecky pacifists. It's an utterly serious and sad, but damn funny book.



The Story of ‘Catch-22’

by Jonathan R. Eller

It shouldn’t have survived the first printing. It was a first novel by a part-time writer who had published very little since the 1940s. It was a book that captured the feelings of helplessness and horror generated by the darker side of the American dream at a time when the general reading public still expected fiction to reflect a positive view of contemporary America and its hallowed institutions. The title was changed twice during presswork; as if that weren’t enough, someone who thought he was portrayed in the book threatened to sue, prompting a name change for one of the main characters after almost a year in print.

But for a number of editors, advertisers, writers, and critics, reading the book echoed the opening line of the novel: “It was love at first sight.” This core of avid supporters kept the novel alive in the East Coast book market until word-of-mouth praise (and overnight bestseller status in Great Britain) took it to international prominence. In time, the title Catch-22 became a part of the English language, and Joseph Heller’s novel became an enduring part of American culture.

Heller was not unknown in publishing circles prior to Catch-22. His first published work appeared in the fall 1945 issue of Story, an issue dedicated to short fiction by returning servicemen. For several years after the war, he wrote what he called “New Yorker–type” stories about Jewish life in Depression-era Brooklyn. Several of these formula pieces were published in Esquire and the Atlantic Monthly while Heller was completing undergraduate work in English at NYU. These publications gained him some attention as a promising new writer, but he published no new stories after 1948—partly because they weren’t selling anymore, but primarily because he was ready to move on to more universal material:


By the time I was a senior in college, I’d done a little more reading and I began to suspect that literature was more serious, more interesting than analyzing an endless string of Jewish families in the Depression. I could see that type of writing was going out of style. I wanted to write something that was very good and I had nothing good to write. So I wrote nothing.1


Instead, he began graduate studies in English at Columbia, which he would complete with an M.A. in 1949, followed by an additional year at Oxford on a Fulbright Scholarship. After two years teaching expository writing at Pennsylvania State University, Heller moved back to New York in 1952 and took a job writing for a small advertising agency, and later for Remington Rand. Graduate work provided the insight required to attempt serious literature, and Heller wanted to write a novel. The drive developed tentatively and without much outside inspiration. He was generally disappointed by the new novels of the early postwar years: “There was a terrible sameness about books being published and I almost stopped reading as well as writing.” He considered the war novels of Jones, Miller, Shaw, and others quite good, but he did not at first consider his own wartime experiences as subject for fiction. Nearly thirty typescripts accumulated by 1952, but only one—the never-published “Crippled Phoenix”—offered a hint of the wartime traumas that would surface in Catch-22.

In 1953, he began a series of notecards outlining characters and a military scenario for what would become Catch-22. Certainly his wartime experiences, and those of boyhood friends like George Mandel, formed a basis for the new project. Mandel, who had been seriously wounded as an infantryman in Europe, would eventually write The Wax Boom (1962), a tough war novel that also questioned traditional army chain-of-command responses to combat situations. Mandel remained a responsive and insightful reader for Heller during the seven years that Catch-22 evolved.


A photograph from Joseph Heller’s copy of the 488th Squadron’s unofficial scrapbook. Heller is on the right.

But in 1953, Heller was still searching for the right form and style of expression. In literature, he found himself attracted to the innovative work of Waugh, Nabokov, and Céline for their successes in achieving the kind of effect Heller wanted. In an early post-publication interview, Heller used Nabokov’s work to describe the effect he himself was searching for: “Nabokov in Laughter in the Dark takes an extremely flippant approach to situations deeply tragic and pathetic, and I began to try for a similar blending of the comic and the tragic so that everything that takes place seems to be grotesque yet plausible.”2

From a publishing perspective, however, it was Heller’s interest in Céline that finally sparked a marketable product. Heller had read Céline’s Journey to the End of the Night while teaching at Penn State; sometime later, probably in 1954, he read Céline’s Death on the Installment Plan. Céline’s experimentation with time, structure, and colloquial speech profoundly affected him, and triggered a crucial burst of creative energy. Heller recalled the event for his 1975 Playboy interview with Sam Merrill:


I was lying in bed, thinking about Céline, when suddenly the opening lines of Catch-22 came to me: “It was love at first sight. The first time he saw the chaplain, Blank fell madly in love with him.” I didn’t come up with the name Yossarian until later, and the chaplain wasn’t necessarily an Army chaplain. He could have been a prison chaplain. Ideas of plot, pace, character, style, and tone all tumbled out that night, pretty much the way they finally appeared in the book. The next morning, at work, I wrote out the whole first chapter and sent it to my agent, Candida Donadio, who sold it to New World Writing.


Donadio offered “Catch-18” to Arabel Porter at New American Library’s Mentor Books, and immediately found another enthusiastic fan; Porter wanted “Catch-18” for the Seventh Mentor Selection of New World Writing, an NAL series dedicated to publishing the best new literature and criticism. Other NAL editors concurred in superlative terms; Walter Freeman believed that “Of all the recommended pieces lately, this stands out. It seems like part of a really exciting, amusing novel.” Founding editor Victor Weybright was convinced that “Catch-18” was the “funniest thing we have ever had for NWW.”3

Although Heller was already referring to his initial experiment as a prospective novel, it would be a year before he completed the next chapter, and two years before he finished enough material to send out the story for further review. The main problem was time: between business and family responsibilities, Heller was only able to work on Catch-18 in the evenings, and never very late. He worked slowly and revised extensively at the kitchen table in his West End Avenue apartment, completing about three handwritten pages each night on yellow legal tablets. By day he continued in advertising, moving to successively better-paying positions at Time in 1955 and Look in 1956. In 1957 he moved into the Advertising-Promotion Department at McCall’s, where he would remain until Catch-22 changed his life forever.

By the summer of 1957, Heller had completed enough to make a seventy-five-page typescript. In August, Candida Donadio circulated the typescript and received offers from Bob Gottlieb at Simon and Schuster and Tom Ginsberg at Viking. Each offered options to draw a contract when the book was complete; author and agent passed on both, opting to develop more of the book and then ask for an immediate contract.

In February 1958, Donadio sent a longer typescript to Bob Gottlieb, who had shown a very strong interest the previous summer. By this time, Heller had finished seven handwritten chapters and revised them into a 259-page typescript. This typescript eventually became the first third of the book, evolving into the first sixteen chapters of the final novel. Gottlieb, at twenty-six the youngest editor at Simon and Schuster, loved what he saw of the book and arranged a contract for Heller, but not without a struggle.

Four members of the editorial board reported on the manuscript: Gottlieb, administrative editor Peter Schwed, Justin Kaplan (then an executive assistant to Henry Simon and Max Schuster), and Henry Simon, younger brother of founder Richard Simon and by 1958 a vice president. In his report, Gottlieb wrote:


I still love this crazy book and very much want to do it. It is a very rare approach to the war—humor that slowly turns to horror. The funny parts are wildly funny, the serious parts are excellent. The whole certainly suffers somewhat by the two attitudes, but this can be partly overcome by revisions. The central character, Yossarian, must be strengthened somewhat—his single-minded drive to survive is both the comic and the serious center of the story.4



A page from the early manuscript, with revisions by Heller.

Gottlieb was the strongest advocate, and both Schwed and Kaplan found it wildly funny but at times repetitive. Even Gottlieb conceded that the book would not be a big seller, although he felt t...

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 7996 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 544 pages
  • Editeur : Simon & Schuster; Édition : 50 Anv (26 octobre 2010)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B0048WQDIE
  • Synthèse vocale : Non activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.6 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (12 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°37.429 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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4.6 étoiles sur 5
4.6 étoiles sur 5
Commentaires client les plus utiles
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Tenir la distance 12 octobre 2011
Par zybine, amateur éclairé TOP 100 COMMENTATEURS
Format:Poche|Achat vérifié
Ce très célèbre roman est un classique de la littérature américaine, régulièrement à l'honneur des palmarès des grands livres du XXè. Il y est question de l'absurdité de la guerre en général, et de la société militaire en particulier, notre héros, l'aviateur Yossarian déployant de nombreux efforts pour éviter d'aller effectuer des missions supplémentaires sur ce front italien de la seconde guerre mondiale. A la relecture, difficile de ne pas penser au film M.A.S.H. ou à toute cette mouvance contestataire qu'illustrent avec des styles très différents Vonnegut, Pynchon ou Kesey et autres enfants des beatnicks. Le livre se veut comique et picaresque. Il est parfois drôle mais la vérité oblige à dire qu'il ne tient pas la distance : on ne quitte pas ou presque la base aérienne et l'hôpital de campagne, les ressorts comiques sont toujours les mêmes, les personnages sont posés en bloc et guère subtils. On a donc (au moins pour ce qui me concerne) l'impression de vite tourner en rond alors que la première impression était très favorable.
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8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 un titre passé dans la langue 11 juillet 2003
Par Goffinon
Si "Catch 22" signifie, en anglais, un dilemne inextricable, une situation absurde où l'on est nécessairement perdant, c'est parce que le titre de Joseph Heller est devenu une expression courante (...). C'est dire l'extraordinaire succès qu'a connu ce livre dès sa parution, succès qui ne s'est pas démenti en plus de quarante ans. Honte pour l'édition française: le titre était passé dans la langue anglaise avant qu'on ne traduise le livre. Ce roman est non seulement un des plus connus de la deuxième moitié du XXe siècle, c'est le livre le plus drôle écrit sur la guerre depuis Iaroslav Hasek.
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8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Catch-22. Un classique. A lire absolument. 11 avril 2002
Par Un client
Catch-22 se trouve parmi les dix livres du 20ème siècle les plus appréciés dans le monde anglo-saxon. C'est un véritable chef-d'oeuvre satirique qui décrit avec un humour acerbe, subversif et délirant la lutte quotidienne que doit mener Yossarian (capitaine dans l'aviation americaine stationné sur une base italienne pendant la seconde guerre mondiale) pour survivre dans un climat de folie meurtrière où les pires ennemis ne sont pas forcément les ennemis officiels...
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11 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Un livre epoustouflant, meconnu en France 27 juillet 2001
Par "floubi"
En anglais, une situation 'Catch 22' decrit un cercle vicieux a l'issue duquel on se retrouve perdant, quoi que l'on fasse. Ce livre decrit l'absurdite de la guerre, vu par Yossarian, le hero, capitaine dans l'armee americaine. Il est a la fois hilarant - la plupart des conversations sont des dialogues de fou - et emouvant, un des meilleurs livres de la litterature americaine.
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9 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Par Damien Coullon TOP 1000 COMMENTATEURS
Format:Poche|Achat vérifié
"Messieurs, commença le colonel Cargill, s'adressant à l'escadrille de Yossarian et mesurant soigneusement ses pauses, vous êtes des officiers américains. Les officiers d'aucune autre armée du monde ne peuvent en dire autant. Songez-y."

Catch 22, c'est donc le récit de l'absurdité des hommes dans la guerre. Des hommes condamnés à faire toujours plus de missions de bombardement par un colonel croyant qu'il augmente ainsi ses chances de promotion.

Une issue ? Demander d'être affecté au sol en se faisant passer pour un fou, comme spécifié dans l'article 22. Mais l'article 22 dit aussi : "Quiconque veut se faire dispenser d'aller au feu n'est pas réellement cinglé". Et n'oubliez pas : seuls sont habilités à poser des questions ceux qui n'en posent jamais. Vous commencez à désespérer ? Ne vous en faites pas, appuyez-vous sur "la sagesse et la justice d'un Dieu immortel, tout-puissant, omniscient, humain, universel, anthropomorphe, de langue anglaise, anglo-saxon et pro-américain".

Reproche quand même : un roman trop long, avec pas mal de passages inutiles, d'autant que trop d'absurde tue l'absurde. Il reste un grand classique de la littérature contemporaine américaine.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 A great great book 14 juillet 2014
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I bought the book on the strength of its reputation, not quite knowing what to expect. A pleasant surprise it was, with some passages downright hilarious.
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There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for ones own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didnt, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didnt have to; but if he didnt want to he was sane and had to. &quote;
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Catch-22. Anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isnt really crazy. &quote;
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it was neither possible nor necessary to educate people who never questioned anything. &quote;
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