“Mr. Mailer Interviews Himself.” New York Times Book Review, 17 September, 4-5, 40. Catechetical comment on 67.15. Rpt: As “An Imaginary Interview” in 72.7, 82.19, A Fragment From Vietnam (85.11), 88.6.
Why Are We in Vietnam? New York: Putnam’s, 15 September; London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, March or April 1969. Novel, 208 pp., $4.95.
Republished with preface by Mailer. New York: Berkley, January 1977 (77.1). Preface reprinted as “Are We in Vietnam?” in 82.16. Dedication (Putnam’s only): “To My Friends: Roger Donoghue, Buzz Farber [sic], Mickey Knox, Norman Podhoretz, Cy Rembar and José Torres.” Two states of the Putnam’s “first impression” exist. One contains a tipped-in dedication page with Buzz Farbar’s name misspelled Farber; the other has no dedication page. It seems likely that the dedication page was an afterthought, added just before publication and then excised when the spelling error was found. This interpretation is supported by two facts: first, the great majority of examined copies do not have the dedication page; and second, the British first edition also lacks one. The dedication, with correct spelling of Farbar’s name, appears in three subsequent softcover editions.
Why Are We in Vietnam? is one of the few Mailer books not preceded by pre-publication excerpts in periodicals. Mailer adapted the novel into a one-act sketch, “Why Are We in Vietnam,” before it was published. It was staged at least twice: on 19 August at Act IV in Provincetown, and on 6 December 1971 at an anti-war rally at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. Under the title “A Fragment from Vietnam: A One-Act Play,” the 13-page sketch was included in Existential Errands (72.7) and The Essential Mailer (82.19). Finally, Eurographica (Helsinki) published it, along with 67.16, in a separate volume under the title A Fragment From Vietnam (85.11). Rpt: Four chapters of the novel in 98.7. See 65.14, 72.18.
Mailer: “You see, there are times when I read Why Are We in Vietnam? and it displeases me too, but there are times when I decide it’s one of the 10 funniest books written since Huckleberry Finn” (67.16).
“Uncle Norman Makes the Obscene.” Article-interview by Nancy Weber. Books, New York Post. (September), 8. Focuses mainly on forthcoming Why Are We in Vietnam? (67.15) with asides on the war in Vietnam, Ronald Reagan, An American Dream (65.7) and The Deer Park: A Play (67.13). Mailer says that Why Are We in Vietnam? “took five months, June to November 1966, with a month and a half out to do ‘The Deer Park’ in Provincetown.” He says, “It’s a book to be read out loud; it uses language more for its sound than for what it means.”
The Deer Park: A Play. New York: Dial, 7 August; simultaneously as a softcover; New York: Dell; London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1970. 192 pp., $4.50.
To Leo Garen and James F. Walsh, Director and Producer of The Deer Park, and to Paul John Austin—Stage Manager, and the brave players in the first New York company: Rip Torn, Rosemary Tory and Hugh Marlowe, Will Lee, Beverly Bentley and Mickey Knox, Gene Lindsey and Margaret Fairchild, Mara Lynn and Joe McWherter, Marsha Mason and Gary Campbell, Bernard Farbar; and to the fine work of the technical crew and the box office, and the standbys. And to Elizabeth Farley, Richard Shepard, Dan Durning and Tom Baker for the first production of The Deer Park at Act IV in Provincetown.
This published version of the play follows the stage version which ran from 31 January through 21 May at the Theatre de Lys in New York; it is markedly different in form, but consistent in spirit with the fragments published in 1959 and 1960. See 57.2, 59.11, 59.13, 60.4, other 1967 entries, 72.7 and the novel on which the play is based: 55.4.
There were times when I thought I even cared more for it than the novel from which it was delivered; it was certainly different from the novel, narrower, more harrowing, funnier I hoped, sadder, certainly more tragic. It was also more multi-layered. If I was a novelist trying to write plays, I was also trying to put more into this play than I had put into the novel. If the compass was obligatorily more narrow, the well was being dug to a deeper water…. (67.3)
“In Clay’s Corner.” Partisan Review 34 (summer), 458-62. Symposium contribution. Mailer, Frank Conroy, Nat Hentoff, John Hollander, Robert Lowell and Richard Poirier comment on the refusal of Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) to be drafted into the U.S. Army. Mailer’s statement is 240 words in length. Rpt: As “An Appreciation of Cassius Clay” in 72.7, 82.19. See 75.12.
“They Seek Out Saul Bellow.” Article-interview by A. H. Weiler. New York Times, 28 May. A short piece on Mailer is included in this article on Bellow. Mailer tells the writer that his film, Wild 90, could be called “a friendly answer to Andy Warhol’s ‘The Chelsea Girls.’ Anyway, it’s strictly an underground movie and I’ve been thinking about it for a few years. It’s about a gang of hoodlums who happen to be under the protection of the police and are holed up after they’ve committed a crime.” He added that the working title is “The Maf Boys.”
The Short Fiction of Norman Mailer. New York: Dell, 11 May, soft-cover; Sevenoaks, Kent: New English Library, August 1982. Short stories, 285 pp., 95¢.
The British edition combines 67.11 with Existential Errands (72.7) under the title The Essential Mailer (82.19). Nineteen previously published stories with an original introduction (later reprinted in 72.7 and 82.19). No dedication. Original title: “Hunger for Method, Greed for Gold.” Rpt: Accompanied by separate editions of Barbary Shore (51.1) and The Deer Park (55.4), The Short Fiction of Norman Mailer (80.23) appeared in a hardcover edition (the first) in 1980. New York: Howard Fertig. All 19 stories appeared previously in one or another of Mailer’s miscellanies (59.13, 63.37, 66.11); 13 of the stories appeared in periodicals or other collections prior to being reprinted in one of the miscellanies. “The Man Who Studied Yoga” and “The Time of Her Time” were reprinted in 98.7. Shohakusha (Tokyo) published A Selection from the Short Fiction of Norman Mailer (68.32). See 74.19.
It has been remarked that the short fiction of this author is neither splendid, unforgettable, nor distinguished, and I hasten hereby to join such consensus…. He does not have the gift to write great short stories, or perhaps even very good ones. In fact, he will confess he does not have the interest, the respect, or the proper awe. The short story bores him a little. He will admit he rarely reads them. He is, in secret, not fond of writers who work at short stories. Nor are they often, he suspects, fond of him. He has a private sneer for the reputations they have amassed. There is a terrible confession to make: he thinks the short story is relatively easy to write. (67.11)
“Mailer’s Street Scene: Renewal on Sunday.” Article by Stephanie Harrington. Village Voice, 4 May, 1, 21. Quotes Mailer at block party given in honor of the 100th performance of The Deer Park (67.13).
“Mailer—Man of Fevered Words.” Article by Lee Coppola. Buffalo Evening News, 1 April. Quotes from Mailer’s comments after a reading from Why Are We in Vietnam? (67.15) at State University of New York at Buffalo.
“Mailer Says U.S. Dangerously Split.” Article by Carolyn Barta. Dallas Morning News, 29 March, Sec. D, p. 4. Quotes from Mailer’s Southern Methodist University speech against the Vietnam War.