The Catch of the Hyperreal: Yossarian and the Ideological Vicissitudes of Hyperreality

Authors

  • Abdolali Yazdizadeh University of Tehran

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1515/texmat-2018-0023

Keywords:

hyperreality, society of spectacle, business of illusion, antihero, Baudrillard

Abstract

Hyperreality is a key term in Jean Baudrillard’s cultural theory, designating a phase in the development of image where it “masks the absence of a profound reality.” The ambiance of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 (1961) closely corresponds to Baudrillard’s notion of the hyperreal as images persist to precede reality in the fictional world of the novel. Since for Baudrillard each order of simulacra produces a certain mode of ideological discourse that impacts the perception of reality, it is plausible that the characters of this fictional context should be ideologically impacted by the hyperreal discourse. From this vantage point it is possible to have a new critical assessment of Yossarian’s (protagonist) antiheroic stance and study the role of the “business of illusion,” whose ideological edifice is based on the discourse of the hyperreal, on his antiheroic stance and actions. By drawing on Baudrillard’s cultural theory this paper aims to read Heller’s novel as a postmodern allegory of rebellion against the hyperreality of the twentieth-century American life and trace its relevance to modern-day U.S.

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Author Biography

Abdolali Yazdizadeh, University of Tehran

Abdolali Yazdizadeh holds an MA in English literature from the University of Tehran. He is the author of “Tralfamadorian Utopia and the Logic of the Consumer Society: A Cultural Study of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five” (Australasian Journal of American Studies 36.1) and “Lacan as a Reader of Angela Carter’s Bloody Chamber” (Studies in Literature and Language 16.2).

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Published

2018-10-24

How to Cite

Yazdizadeh, A. (2018). The Catch of the Hyperreal: Yossarian and the Ideological Vicissitudes of Hyperreality. Text Matters, (8), 386-410. https://doi.org/10.1515/texmat-2018-0023