1955

On March 4, he makes last entry in “Lipton’s.”

11 April, Peter born to Mailer’s sister, Barbara, then married to Larry Alson.

The Deer Park is published on 14 October, and on 13 November climbs to number six on the New York Times bestseller list.

With Edwin Fancher and Daniel Wolf, Mailer founds The Village Voice, investing $10,000, and giving the paper its name. He also contributes a weekly column. The Voice’s first issue is published on 26 October. For a time he is circulation manager of the Voice.

Norman Mailer (1955)

in Days | 86 Words

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.”

55.7

Letter to Herman Kogan, Book Review Editor, Chicago Sun-Times, 18 December. Complaint about comments in reviews of The Deer Park (55.4) that Mailer had “‘cleaned up’ the book to satisfy the demands of G.P. Putnam’s, my publisher.” He explains that the book was not bowdlerized and is actually 50 pages longer than the Rinehart version. In Advertisements for Myself (59.13), Mailer recalls that this letter was sent to “twenty-odd newspapers.”

55.6

“An Intimate Interview with Norman Mailer.” By Lyle Stuart. Exposé, no. 49 (December), 1, 4. Written answers to 69 submitted questions. Mailer also comments on organized religion, Marilyn Monroe, Sigmund Freud, Feodor Dostoyevsky, Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner. He ends by stating that the role of the artist “is to be as disturbing, as adventurous, as penetrating as his energy and courage make possible.” Rpt: 59.13, 88.6.

55.5

“All over America The Deer Park is Getting Nothing but Raves.” Village Voice, 16 November, 8. Paid advertisement composed by Mailer consisting of negative appraisals from 16 reviewers. Mailer used this technique many times before and after 55.4, for example, 73.45. Rpt. 59.13, 59.14, 76.14.

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)

55.3

“Two Ex-GI’s Write Revenge on Army.” Article-interview by W.G. Rogers. Battle Creek (Mich.) Enquirer-News, 5 September. Mailer and Army friend Francis I. “Fig” Gwaltney comment briefly on the Army and writing. For more on Gwaltney, see 13.2, passim.

55.2

“What I Think of Artistic Freedom.” Dissent 2 (spring), 98, 192-93. Essay. Mailer’s accompanying note says this essay, dated February, was written for “those German Stalinists whose faith might be fluttering.” He further states that “Bert Brecht might answer it in the West Berlin periodical Der Monat,” in which case Mailer’s essay would be reprinted in some East German publication. Nothing came of the proposed exchange. Rpt: 13.1

55.1

“The Homosexual Villain.” One: The Homosexual Magazine, January, 8-12. Essay. In 61.3, Mailer acknowledges his past homophobia and says this piece “was the bravest thing I ever did, because it was done out of a dim, dull sense of duty.” Rpt: 59.13, 13.1, 14.3.

55-1