1965

In January, testifies on behalf of William Burroughs’s novel, Naked Lunch, at its Boston obscenity trial.

An American Dream (revised) is published on 15 March by Dial Press, where E. L. Doctorow is one of his editors.

Following José Torres’s defeat of Willie Pastrano for the light heavyweight boxing championship on 30 March, Mailer hosts the victory party for him at his Brooklyn Heights apartment. They become lifelong friends and in 1971 Mailer write a preface to Torres’s biography of Muhammad Ali, Sting Like a Bee: The Muhammad Ali Story.

José Torres (1965)

Travels to Alaska in April, where he addresses the Alaskan legislature, speaks at the University of Alaska, and flies over Mt. McKinley in a small plane. His 1967 novel, Why Are We in Vietnam? is based on his experiences in Alaska.

On 21 May, speaks against the Vietnam War at the Berkeley campus of the University of California before an audience of over 10,000. In December, he gives a lecture on the state of the novel in the U.S. before a large audience at the Modern Language Association conference at the Palmer House in Chicago.

NM & Ali San Juan 1965

in Days | 183 Words

65.24

Letter to the editor. Village Voice, 11 November, 4. One-line retort to accompanying letter from William F. Buckley Jr. that complains about Mailer’s comments about Buckley’s interpretation of John Lindsay’s support for Adam Clayton Powell in 65.22. Mailer says, “Dear Bill, Be a swell, don’t sue.”

65.23

“Mailer on Buckley: ‘Tarnished Charm.’” Article-interview by Pete Hamill. New York Post, 2 November, 6. Comment by Mailer on William F. Buckley Jr. as a spoiler in the New York mayoral election.

65.22

“Norman Mailer on Lindsay and the City.” Village Voice, 28 October, 1, 10. Essay endorsing John Lindsay for Mayor of New York. Rpt: As “Lindsay and the City” in 66.11, 68.11, and in The Village Voice Anthology, 1956-1980: Twenty-Five Years of Writing from the Village Voice, edited by Geoffrey Stokes. New York: Quill, 1982. See 65.24.

65-22

65.21

“Always the Challenger.” Letter to the editor. Life, 15 October, 34. Complaint about being misquoted in 65.20 concerning the purported excision of profanity in The Naked and the Dead (48.2). See 49.3, 68.31, 92.12, 95.53.

65.20

“In This Corner, Norman Mailer: Never the Champion, Always the Challenger.” Article by Brock Brower. Life, 24 September, 94-96, 98, 100, 102, 105-6, 109-12, 115, 117. First major biographical article on Mailer, who is quoted throughout, as are his family, friends and contemporaries. Rpt: As “Norman” in Brower’s collection, Other Loyalties: A Politics of Personality. New York: Atheneum, 1968. Reprint concludes with “The Updating,” which quotes from Mailer’s telegrams of displeasure (“your piece . . . gelded the strongest remarks, and bypassed the work”) about the article and Brower’s subsequent reflections. See 65.21, 79.9.

65.19

“On Vietnam.” Partisan Review 32 (fall), 638-39, 641-43, 645-46. Essay written in response to “Statement by the Editors of Partisan Review” on Vietnam and the Dominican Republic in the summer number. Mailer is one of 14 to respond. Rpt: As “A Happy Solution to Vietnam: From a Partisan Review Symposium” in 66.11 and 68.11. “Mailer’s Reply,” which follows a reprinting of the editor’s statement, prefigures his argument against the war in The Armies of the Night (68.8).

65.18

“Distorted Vision of Mailer.” Article by unidentified writer. Tocsin: The Weekly Intelligence Report 6 (25 or 26 August), 2. A second report (see 65.12; note change in publication’s name) on Mailer’s 21 May speech at the University of California, Berkeley, including Mailer’s call to publish upside-down photographs of President Johnson in protest against the Vietnam War. See 65.14.

65.17

“Clay, Mailer in ‘Draw.’” Article-interview by Robert Friedman. Sunday San Juan Star, 1 August, 1, 12. Mailer arm wrestles Muhammad Ali and comments on the “vitality” of Puerto Rican culture and the Spanish “tragic view of life” during a visit to San Juan to attend a José Torres-Tom McNeeley boxing match.

65.16

“President Assailed by Norman Mailer.” Article by unidentified writer. New York Times, 16 July, 17. Another report on the Harvard teach-in at which Mailer said that L.B.J. “is the expression of the near-insanity of most of us, and his need for action is America’s need for action.” See 65.15.