Since the publication of his influential first book, ""After the Lost Generation"", John Aldridge has been recognized as a master of contemporary literary criticism. In this selection of essays he turns his critical mind toward some of the major figures of modern literature - Edmund Wilson, Malcolm Cowley, Wright Morris, Ernest Hemingway, Henry James, Saul Bellow, John Barth, and Robert Penn Warren, among others. Throughout his career, Aldridge has been deeply concerned with the relation of society to literature. In ""Catch 22 - Twenty-Five Years Later"" he shows how the novel that shocked and outraged reviewers upon its publication became a monumental artifact of contemporary American literature. In ""Norman Mailer: Conquering the Bitch Goddess"" he shows how Mailer finally succeeded in becoming a literary hero by embodying the contradictory spirit of the 1960s protest movement, adopting both its blind faith and its cynicism. Aldridge traces literary fads in ""William Styron's Holocaust Chic"" before concluding that ""Styron's problem is not so much that he is unable to express his ideas in his fiction as that he seems not to have any ideas to express"".