Liberal Arts sponsors marathon reading of classic novel 'Catch 22'

September 07, 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- "Catch-22" is a classic American satirical novel on the insanity of war, a book which had its early roots at Penn State. The College of the Liberal Arts is organizing a marathon 24-hour reading of the novel, beginning on Thursday, Sept. 13, at 1 p.m., on the lawn in front of Pattee and Paterno Libraries. The event is open to the public.

''This event will help us bring intellectual life more visibly into the public space of the University, and will showcase the power of ideas, discussion and learning,'' said Eric Hayot, professor of comparative literature and Asian studies, and an event organizer. ''Penn State academics have never been stronger, and we want to share that excellence with the public and our communities.

''The book’s author, Joseph Heller, began writing the novel when he was teaching first-year composition at Penn State in the early 1950s," noted Hayot. "Published more than 50 years ago, the book offers memorable characters and has added the phrase 'Catch-22,' about a no-win situation, to the American vocabulary."

Students, faculty, staff, and alumni will read the novel aloud throughout Thursday afternoon and evening and conclude Friday afternoon, Sept. 14. Penn State Distinguished Alumna Sue Paterno will begin reading at 1 p.m. Thursday, and men’s soccer coach Bob Warming will read around 5:30 p.m. Also scheduled to appear are women’s volleyball coach Russ Rose (at 1:15 p.m.) and women’s basketball coach Coquese Washington (time to be determined). Organizers are expecting a crowd of about 300 students at the opening.

Students and faculty are invited to camp out overnight and bring appropriate equipment. Pizza and breakfast will be provided by event sponsors.

Sponsors include the Center for American Literary Studies, the Department of English, University Libraries, the School of Languages and Literatures, the Paterno Fellows Program and the Center for Democratic Deliberation. For more information, contact Sarah Denes at


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Last Updated September 11, 2012