in Primary, Works

55.4

The Deer Park. New York: Putnam’s, 14 October; London: Wingate, 1957. Novel, 375 pp., $4.

The Deer Park (1957)

Republished with preface by Mailer and “Fourth Advertisement for Myself: The Last Draft of The Deer Park” from Advertisements for Myself (59.13). New York: Berkley, November 1976 (76.14). Dedication: “To Adele, my wife and to Daniel Wolf my friend.” Discarded title: The Idol and the Octopus. The suppressed Rinehart version of this novel was to have been published 14 February. Six other publishers rejected it before Walter Minton of Putnam’s accepted it. The novel (first printing, 20,000) spent 15 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, climbing to number six on 20 November. Rpt: 59.13 (three brief excerpts, six pp.); 98.7 (partial). See 55.5, 55.7, 56.17, 59.14, 67.13, 68.11, 89.6, and Thomas L. Bonn’s, Heavy Traffic and High Culture: New American Library as Literary Gatekeeper in the Cultural Revolution (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1989), for comment on the legal anxiety at NAL over publishing the softcover edition of 55.4. See also 13.2, 144-77.

Mailer:

…I had an idea of what I was going to do. I knew it was going to be a story about a most unhappy love. The problem was getting to the affair: I could hardly wait to reach it, especially because the early parts of the novel were so difficult to write. It is truly difficult to trap Hollywood in a novel. Only in the last draft did I finally get the setting the way I wanted it. I think now the setting is probably the best part. In fact I would judge that the first fifty pages of The Deer Park are the best writing I have ever done in fiction. But they were the hardest fifty pages of the book to write and certainly took the longest time. (64.1)