Pynchon, Joseph Heller, and V.

Author: David Seed (Liverpool University)

  • Pynchon, Joseph Heller, and V.


    Pynchon, Joseph Heller, and V.



In the Brandeis University Joseph Heller Collection are two items of particular interest for their connection with Pynchon. When Catch-22 was published (1961), Candida Donadio was acting as literary agent for both Heller and Pynchon. It is not surprising therefore that she should have sent a copy of Catch-22 to Pynchon for his comments. In a note dated November 2, 1961, and addressed from Seattle, where he was then working for the Boeing Company, Pynchon expressed his enthusiasm for the novel. The main part of the note reads: "I love it. I won't tell you how much, or why, because I always sound phony whenever I start running off at the mouth like a literary critic. But it is close to the finest novel I've ever read." The note is typed on the quadrille paper Pynchon prefers for correspondence and is signed tersely just "Pynchon." Brief though it is, this note has a real historical importance in that it documents the reaction of one major contemporary novelist to another. It must also encourage critical comparisons between the two writers, particularly over their suspicion of systems and officialdom as well as their sense of the absurd.

How to Cite:

Seed, D., (1989) “Pynchon, Joseph Heller, and V.”, Pynchon Notes , 127. doi:

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Published on
22 Sep 1989