1981

In late June, he writes the introduction for and helps arrange the publication by Random House of In the Belly of the Beast: Letters from Prison by Jack Henry Abbott, who is released on parole in June after Mailer and several others in the literary community write letters to the parole board attesting to Abbott’s literary ability.

Norman Mailer and Jack Abbott

On 18 July, Abbott stabs to death Richard Adan, a 22-year old actor, in New York City. Abbott is subsequently convicted and sentenced for the crime. Mailer attends his trial, and is attacked by the media for his sponsorship of Abbott.

Mailer Family in Maine (c.1981)

in Days | 98 Words

81.23

“Norman Mailer: The Interview.” By Jeffrey Michelson and Sarah Stone. Puritan Quarterly Journal Number 7, 26-32, 44-47, 72, 107. Mailer’s most extensive interview on sex and pornography. The interview was conducted at Mailer’s Brooklyn Heights apartment on 28 December 1980. Rpt: In an abridged form as “Ethics and Pornography” in 82.16. See 73.40, 90.3.

81.22

“Game Cooking with Alfredo Foffé.” In Shooter’s Bible (no. 72), 113-14. Mailer’s introduction to Foffé’s game cookbook (which has not been located) was “excerpted” in this gun catalog and trade journal. Mailer praises Foffé’s Montague Street restaurant where he ate regularly.

81.21

Conference remarks and court testimony related to William Burroughs’s Naked Lunch. In Contemporary Literary Censorship: The Case History of Burroughs’s “Naked Lunch,by Michael Barry Goodman. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press. Mailer’s comments on Naked Lunch, given as a participant in the International Writers’ Conference, Edinburgh International Festival, 20-24 August 1962, are quoted by Goodman, 153-55. Mailer’s later testimony in support of Naked Lunch at its June 1965 censorship trial in Boston is also quoted, 195-200. The entire story is told again by the chief lawyer for the defense: Edward de Grazia, Girls Lean Back Everywhere: The Law of Obscenity and the Assault on Genius, with new material, including quotes from Mailer (92.12). See 62.24, 65.1, 65.13, 96.7, 9.14a.

81.20

“Milos Forman Searches for the Right Key.” Article by Harlan Kennedy. American Film, December, 38-43. Mailer is quoted on the large number of rehearsals required in professional filmmaking. See 80.20, 81.18, 81.19.

81.19

“Mailer Writes Off Acting…Too Hard.” Article-interview by Roderick Mann. Boston Globe, December. Mailer discusses his role as Stanford White in Milos Forman’s newly released film, Ragtime, and comments on the money he lost making his own films: Wild 90 (1967), Beyond the Law (1968), Maidstone (1971): “I could just as easily have bought a yacht, taken it out into the harbor and sunk it.” See 71.28, 80.20, 81.18, 81.20, 84.1.

81.18

“‘Ragtime’: Dreaming America.” Article-interview by Joan Juliet Buck. Vogue, November, 440-43, 492-93. Mailer discusses playing the role of Stanford White in Ragtime, directed by Milos Forman. See 80.20, 81.19, 81.20.

81.17

“A Rally of Literary Lions for Public Library.” Article by Judy Klemesrud. New York Times, 23 October, Sec. B (“Style”), p. 8. Report on a fundraiser for the New York Public Library on 22 October. Mailer’s humorous exchange with Barbara Bush is quoted.

81.16

“Una Conversacion con Norman Mailer.” Interview with Barbara Probst Solomon. El País (Madrid), 4 October, 10-15. Comment on his forthcoming novel, Ancient Evenings (83.18), and a number of writers: Jean Malaquais, Jorge Borges, Gabriel García Márquez, Saul Bellow and, at some length, Henry Adams and his influence on The Armies of the Night (68.8). Rpt: Conducted in Provincetown, on 16 July 1981, and translated into Spanish for El País, this interview was then published as “From NASA to the Nile: A Conversation with Norman Mailer” in New Boston Review, March/April 1982, and subsequently, edited and cut to one-third its length, as “To Pontificate on Europe and America” in Pieces and Pontifications (82.16). Solomon reprinted the full interview in her collection, Horse-Trading and Ecstasy. San Francisco: North Point Press, 1989.

81.15

“The Famous Writers’ Cooking School.” Favorite recipes of 16 writers, including Mailer, who provides one for stuffed mushrooms. Playboy, October, 163-64, 188, 190-91. This piece is an advance excerpt from The Great American Writers’ Cookbook, edited by Dean Faulkner Wells. Introduction by Craig Claiborne. Oxford, Miss.: Yoknapatawpha Press. Mailer’s recipe leads off the appetizers and beverages section in this collection of 200 recipes by 175 American writers. Willie Morris’s recipe for John Birch Society Beans (in Playboy) has literary as well as gustatory merit.