University Relations and Communications

MSUB Honors director discusses reputation of 'Catch-22' and its author at the next Town and Gown event

January 5, 2012



RSVP for Town and Gown, Thompson Law Firm, 294-4230
Dr. David Craig, University Honors Program, 657-2908
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Joseph Heller’s landmark novel “Catch-22” marked its 50th anniversary this past year. The novel made the phrase “Catch-22” part of the American idiom and consciousness, but the future reputation of the novel and its author is much less certain.


Dr. David Craig, director of the University Honors Program at Montana State University Billings, will address that topic at the next Billings Town and Gown meeting.


Craig, who wrote a book about the narrative strategies in Heller’s fiction, will be the featured speaker at the Jan. 11 Town and Gown meeting at Rocky Mountain College’s Prescott Hall. The event, which costs $20 per person for dinner and the talk, begins at 6 p.m. with the presentation starting at 7 p.m.


Dr. David CraigWhen it was published in 1961, “Catch-22” was little known, but came to prominence as America’s involvement in the Vietnam War escalated. The book’s success become both boon and burden to Heller, establishing his reputation as an important contemporary writer and raising the question that he would be asked until the end of his career: When was he going to write another novel as good as or as funny as “Catch-22?”


Craig will explain how the book came to be written (it was originally called “Catch-18”), talk about Heller and his career and share some perspectives on the uncertainties of literary reputations.


Craig, who received his doctorate from the University of Notre Dame, is in his first year as director of the University Honor’s Program at MSU Billings and is an adjunct professor of English. He also serves as consulting director of the Clarkson Honors Program and School and is Professor of Humanities at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y.  Craig’s book, “Tilting at Morality: Narrative Strategies in Joseph Heller’s Fiction,” was selected by the online review journal Choice as one of its Outstanding Academic Books for 1998.


To RSVP for the Town and Gown event, contact Connie at Thompson Law Firm at 294-4320 or send an e-mail to by noon on Monday, Jan. 9.


For more on the University Honors Program, contact Craig at 657-2908 or via e-mail at

PHOTO ABOVE: Dr. David Craig