“Life-View.” Book Find News [July], edited by George Braziller, 6. Essay on 48.2 (a Book Find Club selection), including Mailer’s plea that it be read “as a novel by a young man who immodestly or not has tried to compound his experience and imagination into something more complex than he could render in speech or by an essay.”


“The Author.” Article-interview by R.G. Saturday Review, 8 May, 10. This profile with brief comments from Mailer (on problems of characterization, his early jobs, the poverty of American letters), accompanies Maxwell Geismar’s highly laudatory and influential review. Saturday Review was the first magazine to give Mailer a cover story; a drawing of Mailer by Hal McIntosh based on the jacket photo of 48.2 is on the cover of this issue. See 48.8.



The Naked and the Dead. New York: Rinehart, 6 May; London: Wingate, 9 May 1949. Novel, 721 pp., $4.

The Naked and the Dead Cover (1948)

Republished in a signed leather-bound edition with one-page preface, “A Special Message to Subscribers from Norman Mailer.” Franklin Center, Pa.: Franklin Library, 1979 (79.36). Dedication and acknowledgment: “To my Mother and Bea. I would like to thank William Raney, Theodore S. Amussen, and Charles Devlin for the aid and encouragement given me at various times in the writing of this novel.”


The novel received a “Page One Award” from the New York Newspaper Guild (CIO affiliate) on 20 May 1949 and was chosen as one of the four best books of 1948 by Newsweek (13 December).


Several prominent critics nominated the novel for the Pulitzer Prize in the Saturday Review’s annual Pulitzer Prize poll (30 April 1949, 23), and the Associated Press named Mailer “Man of the Year” in Literature, as reported in the 31 December Asbury Park Evening News.

Finally, it was nominated for the Gutenberg Award, given to “the book which most progressively influenced American thought in 1948.” The novel was on the New York Times bestseller list for a total of 63 weeks, until summer 1949. The novel’s title was first used for an unpublished play about an insane asylum based on a one-week job Mailer held at a Boston asylum in the summer of 1942. Rpt: 48.1, 98.6 (new edition, with new introduction), 98.7 (partial). See other 1948 entries, 49.3, 65.21, 68.31, 74.18, 74.20, 76.21, 92.12, 95.53 and, passim, in 59.13; and Mailer’s recollections in 03.7.


I came out of the Army with an idea for a novel about a long patrol, an idea which had been bound in its origins to a mountain which was to serve as both an actual mass of stone and as a symbolic base for the book. The original conception was allegorical. The mountain was a consciously ambiguous symbol, something too complex, too intangible, to be defined by language. (48.4)

Naked Ad (1948)


“The Naked and the Dead.” In Cross-Section: A Collection of New American Writing, edited by Edwin Seaver, 392-420. New York: Simon and Schuster, March. Advance excerpt from The Naked and the Dead (48.2). Rpt: Appearing about a month before the novel, this excerpt (with minor variations) is the greater part of chapter 5, part 1, a description of dragging the anti-tank guns through the jungle and the following firefight at the river, an excerpt reprinted countless times in anthologies of war writing. Noted as “work in progress” on dustwrapper; 98.7 (partial). See Seaver’s recollections of Cross-Section and Mailer in his memoir, So Far So Good: Recollections of a Life in Publishing (Westport, Conn.: Lawrence Hill, 1986). See also Mailer’s comments on Seaver in Advertisements For Myself (59.13), 28-29.