In March, meets Barbara Norris (later Norris Church Mailer) in Arkansas through his army friend “Fig” Gwaltney.
The Fight is published on 21 July, after long excerpts appear in Playboy. It is the last of eight consecutive books in which he uses the third person to depict himself, a technique called illeism, or third person personal.
He spends most of the summer in Mt. Desert, ME.
In December, he separates from Carol Stevens and begins living with Norris Church and her son Matthew at 142 Columbia Heights in Brooklyn.
Excerpts from The Fight in Playboy win the magazine’s Best Nonfiction Award.
Letter to the editor. People Weekly, 24 November, 10. Mailer complains that Mark Goodman’s article-interview (75.15) was inaccurate and broke an agreement that no mention would be made of Mailer’s private life.
“Before He’s Naked or Dead, Norman Mailer Goes for Broke: The Biggest Novel of All.” Article-interview by Mark Goodman. People Weekly, 10 November, 47-50. Profile with a few comments on The Fight (75.12) and his work-in-progress, Ancient Evenings (83.18). See 75.16.
Preface to Fiction Writer’s Handbook, by Hallie and Whit Burnett, xvii-xxi. New York: Harper and Row, prior to 9 November. Copy examined has date stamped “November 9 1975.” Mailer discusses the beginning of his writing career at Harvard under Theodore Morrison, Mark Schorer, Albert Guerard, Robert Gorham Davis and Murray Kempton. Mailer later explained that this Kempton was “not our Murray.” See 41.1, 77.2, 83.10. Rpt: Project Mailer.
The Fight. Boston: Little, Brown, 21 July; London: Hart-Davis, 1976. Nonfiction narrative on the Muhammad Ali-George Foreman 30 October 1974 boxing match in Zaire, 239 pp., $7.95.
No dedication. Rpt: An earlier, shorter version of the narrative appeared in two parts in Playboy (75.8, 75.9). Mailer includes excerpts from eight chapters in The Time of Our Time (98.7). See 64.18, 67.12, 71.15, 71.26, 75.13, 77.13.
Now our Man of wisdom had a vice. He wrote about himself. Not only would he describe the events he saw, but his own small effect on events. This irritated critics. They spoke of ego trips and the unattractive dimensions of his narcissism. Such criticism did not hurt too much. He had already had a love affair with himself, and it used up a good deal of love. He was no longer pleased with his presence. His daily reactions bored him. They were becoming like everyone else’s. His mind, he noticed, was beginning to spin its wheels…. (75.12)
“Existential Aesthetics: An Interview with Norman Mailer.” By Laura Adams. Partisan Review 42 (summer), 197-214. Omnibus interview notable for Mailer’s comments on karma and the role of James Jones in convincing him of its justice. Rpt: Partial in 82.16, 98.7; complete in 88.6. See 59.2, 75.2, 82.15, 83.45, 89.11.
“The Meaning of Vietnam.” New York Review of Books, 12 June, 23-33. Fifteen individuals “were asked to consider the questions of the responsibility for the war; its effects on American life, politics, and culture, and the U.S. position in the world; and the prospects of recovery from it—or any other questions they felt to be important.” Besides Mailer, the contributors include Noam Chomsky, Elizabeth Hardwick, Christopher Lasch, Robert Lowell, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag and Gore Vidal.
“All Night Long: The Fight, Part II.” Playboy, June, 124-26, 130, 172-84, 186-88, 192-93, 196. Nonfiction narrative on the Muhammad Ali- George Foreman 30 October 1974 boxing match in Zaire. Playboy awarded this excerpt and 75.8 its annual award for best nonfiction of 1975. Rpt: With many changes as part II of The Fight (75.12).
“The Dead Are Dying of Thirst: The Fight, Part I.” Playboy, May, 78-82, 104, 146, 192, 196, 198-200, 202, 204, 206, 208, 210, 212-14, 216, 218, 220-22. Nonfiction narrative on the Muhammad Ali-George Foreman 30 October 1974 boxing match in Zaire. Rpt: With many changes as part I of The Fight (75.12).
“Norman Mailer: Humor Saves Day for the Man of La Mancha.” Article-interview by Bill Bryan. St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 23 April, Sec. C, p. 11. Report on Mailer’s appearance at St. Louis University, where he presented a lecture, “From Poetry to Espionage.”