in Secondary, Works

55.8

“Mailer, Norman.” In Twentieth Century Authors: First Supplement, edited by Stanley J. Kunitz, 628-29. New York: H.W. Wilson. Autobiographical entry. Mailer makes a number of memorable statements in this sketch, which he wrote in December 1952, including his statement that “the peculiar juxtaposition of a Brooklyn culture and a Harvard culture have had the most external importance I could name in making me want to write.” He also states: “I have long suffered from an inability to combine the best of two quite separate attitudes about the writing of novels; briefly, the romantic and the realist.” Finally, he notes that “the virtue I should most like to achieve as a writer is to be genuinely disturbing,” and to “serve as the gadfly to complacency, institutions, and the dead weight of public taste.”