1949

Mailer resumes work on Barbary Shore.

From 25 to 27 March he attends and speaks at the Cultural and Scientific Conference for World Peace (Waldorf Conference) in New York, which is attacked as a Communist front in Life magazine (4 April). Meets Dwight Macdonald, Mary McCarthy and Robert Lowell at the conference.

In June, the Mailers move to Hollywood, where they are joined by Jean and Galy Malaquais.

Susan born to Bea 28 August.

Finishes first draft of Barbary Shore.

Mailer and Malaquais work unsuccessfully on scripts for Samuel Goldwyn, who Mailer admires.

Meets Lois Mayfield Wilson, with whom he has long, intimate relationship, although he sees her only once or twice a year.

in Days | 110 Words

49.6

Statement by Mailer in support of James Kutcher. Civil Rights at the Crossroads: The Case of the Legless Veteran. Souvenir Program for a July 23, 1949 banquet in Los Angeles honoring Kutcher, who lost both legs in the 1943 Battle of San Pietro, Italy, and was later dismissed from his job as a clerk in the Veteran’s Administration for his leftist affiliations. Mailer served on the national committee to defend Kutcher, and provided the following statement for the program (which Mailer may have attended): “The attack and persecution of men of any left-wing political persuasion, Communist, Socialist workers, Socialist or Anarchist, is a direct indication of the strength of fascism in America. It is part of a larger process which is designed to silence finally even the mildest liberal conceptions in American thought today. The facts in Kutcher’s persecution are hideous.”

49.5

Speaking of Peace: An Edited Report of the Cultural and Scientific Conference for World Peace, New York, New York, March 25, 26 and 27, 1949. New York: National Council of Arts, Sciences and Professions. Contains a complete transcript of the conference, including Mailer’s remarks, 82-83. 

49.4

Statement for class record. In Harvard Class of 1943: Sexennial Report, 208-9. Cambridge: Harvard University. In his 83-word statement, Mailer summarizes his activities from March 1944 through his participation in the Henry Wallace campaign in the fall of 1948. See 53.5, 58.6, 83.59.

49.3

Untitled article by Associated Press writer. 1 May. In response to the condemnation of The Naked and the Dead (48.2) by the (London) Sunday Times, Mailer replies,

The Sunday Times is certainly entitled to its opinion—but I don’t agree with it. I wrote the book in good faith and don’t think it is obscene. I think as a matter of fact, that it’s less obscene than some salacious books that have foul words only here and there. When you look at the book as a whole, I don’t think you notice any obscenity in it. The obscenity—if you want to call it that—in The Naked and the Dead is like a bell ringing in the background while you work. Before long you don’t notice it anymore.

The possible banning of the book was discussed on the floor of the House of Commons, and widely in the British press. The British Attorney General, Sir Hartley Shawcross, while finding the novel to be “foul, lewd and revolting,” ultimately decided not to initiate proceedings against it. See 65.21, 68.31, 92.12, 95.53.

49.2c

“Weekend at the Waldorf.” Article by Joseph P. Lash. New Republic, 18 April 1949. Another overview of the conference, with long excerpt from Mailer’s remarks.

49.2b

“Guardian Reports on the Peace Conference Panels,” Article by Cedric Belfrage. National Guardian, 4 April 1949, 9. Wrap-up article on the conference in which Mailer inveighs against the economic systems of both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., and calls for “a decent equitable socialism.”

49.2a

“Panel Discussions of the Cultural Conference Delegates Cover a Wide Range of Subjects.” Article by an unidentified writer. New York Times, 27 March 1949, 44-45. Balanced overview of the conference, including an excerpt from Mailer’s speech, which he began by saying, “I have come here as a Trojan horse.”

49.2

“ ’48’s Nine.” Interview by Rochelle Girson. Saturday Review, 12 February, 12-14. Brief interviews with nine young authors: Mailer, Truman Capote, Irwin Shaw, William Gardner Smith, John Cobb, Ross Lockridge Jr., Hollister Noble, Ruby Redinger and Merle Miller.

49.1

“The Waldorf Conference.” Article by Dwight Macdonald. Politics 6 (winter), 32A-32D. Macdonald quotes Mailer’s 26 March statement to the March 25-27 conference concerning the state capitalism of Russia, the monopoly capitalism of the U.S. and the futility of the conference. Compare with Mailer’s remembrance of the conference in Advertisements for Myself (59.13), 409-10; a red-baiting article in Life, 4 April, 39-43. See also 13.2, 110-11.