Norman Mailer - Life Stories, Books, and Links
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Picture of Norman Mailer, author of The Naked and the Dead; twentieth century American Literature
Norman Mailer   (1923 - 2007)
Category:  American Literature
Born: 1923
Long Branch, New Jersey, United States
Died: 2007
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Norman Mailer - LIFE STORIES
5/4/1948     Mailer, The Naked and the Dead
On this day in 1948 Norman Mailer's first novel, The Naked and the Dead was published. A front-page editorial in the London Sunday Times lobbied to have the book withdrawn for its "incredibly foul and beastly," language, but most reviewers ranked it among the best war novels, and conferred upon Mailer a celebrity status that he claimed to regret.
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The Naked and the Dead
The Spooky Art: Thoughts on Writing
The Time of Our Time
guide, anthology, essays
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Mailer: His Life and Times
by Peter Manso
The Enduring Vision of Norman Mailer
by Barry H. Leeds
The Lives of Norman Mailer: A Biography
by Carl Rollyson
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"Norman Mailer: Autocrat of the Remainder Table"
An article traces the career of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, discussing early works, critical successes, and Mailer's waning importance as a now "marginalized and irrelevant" author.

"For a time, Mailer could do no wrong; his home-movies were shown in art houses and applauded by critics. He won a Pulitzer Prize (1969) for The Armies of The Night -- a journalistic novel in which he was the main character in the march on the Pentagon to stop the war. Two other world class protesters, Robert Lowell and Dwight Macdonald, were accorded supporting roles. Macdonald, in fact, had been protesting everything -- World War II, capitalism, the Third Edition of Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, even -- for years. Of Lowell, Mailer wrote: "You, Lowell, beloved poet of many, what do you know of the dirt and the dark deliveries of the necessary?" Political correctness was not yet in vogue--but it was hardly Norman's turgid prose that also earned him the National Book Award that year. In politics, as in art, fashions change. With the advent of Ronald Reagan, Mailer's career steadily went into decline."
Guardian Unlimited
A recent interview about "leading proponent of machismo in American literature" in which the author discusses current events (the war on terrorism, Enron, Mike Tyson ...), his literary feuds and rhetorical jousting, and the many controversies.

"In the 30 books that followed The Naked and the Dead, machismo was never far from the centre of Mailer's preoccupations. That must lend a special poignancy to growing older and more frail? He laughs, a gritty chuckle. 'I'm laughing because I'll be 79 in a coupla days - machismo is that faint zephyr I can still barely hear on the other side of the hill. But listen: machismo is not the easiest cloak to wear, the easiest role to assume in life. Machismo is a ladder, and there's always a guy who's more macho than you coming up that ladder....'"
New York Times Book Reviews
A long list of articles by and about Mailer, interviews, and reviews of works including "The Deer Park," "The Naked and the Dead," "Advertisements for Myself," and " The Armies of the Night."

"Mark Twain might have been more popular than Mailer, and Hemingway more influential, but neither of these writers, whose books conquered both the academy and the marketplace, ever had so many thousands of people at their feet -- and at their throats."
Norman Mailer Interview with Don Swaim
"Norman Mailer, winner of two Pulitzer Prizes and author of An American Dream, Ancient Evenings, The Executioner's Song, and The Naked and the Dead, talks with Don Swaim in 1991 about daring to write, his rules for writing, unfinished lives, and his novel about the CIA, Harlot's Ghost." (56 minute audio recording)
Poets and Writers
A rare recent interview in which the author talks about his works, his critics, and the solitary, exhaustive labor of writing.

"'Writing takes a lot out of you,' Mailer says. 'I'm older now, so I probably work five hours a day at most; I split it between morning and afternoon. The truth is you have to get in wonderful shape compared to the shape you've been in if you're going to start a novel. In the past, before my knees gave out, I used to jog more miles and work out harder in the gym. Once you start the novel you can't keep [working out] because you're just too tired. You decompose a little physically when you work on a novel. Then you stop for a while and build up again.' Mailer contends that writing is similar to his favorite sport, boxing. 'There's one way in which they're very much alike, and that's the loneliness. A boxer is one of the loneliest people on earth about the time he gets in that ring. Even two days before the fight he can't get to sleep, thinking about the prowess of his opponent. It's that kind of immense inner fear of humiliation. Those lonely fears are analogous, although they're much more intense than the writer's fears, but I tell you, there's something terribly lonely about that blank page you face day after day, year after year.'"
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February 21, 2018
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