1983

His interview with Robert Begiebing, one of his three or four most important interviews, is published in Harvard Magazine. In it he discusses at length his years at Harvard, and also explains the origins of Ancient Evenings.

Norman Mailer (1983)

Preceded by advance excerpts in Playboy, Vogue and Paris Review, Ancient Evenings, set in Egypt 3,000 years ago during the reign of Ramses IX, is published on 4 April. Reviews are mixed but the novel climbs to number six on the New York Times bestseller list in mid-May.

In August, he moves from Little, Brown to Random House, the publisher of all of his future books. Jason Epstein becomes his editor for the next 20 years.

In late September, Mailer is nominated for an Emmy for his screenplay of The Executioner’s Song. Tommy Lee Jones, who plays Gilmore, wins an Emmy for best actor.

In October, he purchases a home at 627 Commercial Street, Provincetown, where he will spend as much time as in Brooklyn from this point on.

Mailer, Ginsberg, Burroughs (1983)

in Days | 163 Words

83.59

Statement for class record. Harvard College, Class of 1943: Fortieth Anniversary Report, 120-21. Cambridge: Harvard University. In his 95-word statement, Mailer notes his marriage to Norris Church, the births of his son John Buffalo and his granddaughter Valentina, the publication of The Executioner’s Song (79.14) and finishing Ancient Evenings (83.18). See 49.4, 53.5, 58.6.

83.58

Foreword to Oswald’s Game, by Jean Davison, 7-10. New York: W.W. Norton. Written when Mailer had greater faith in the various conspiracy theories surrounding the Kennedy assassination, and thus worth comparing with Oswald’s Tale: An American Mystery (95.16). Mailer discusses the coincidences of his life, including the fact that he worked in the same studio building in Brooklyn as Russian spymaster, Col. Rudolph Abel: “The net of conspiracy is always more or less finely woven than what we do perceive of it.” Rpt: Project Mailer.

83.57

“Dwight Macdonald: 1906-1982.” Proceedings of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, 2nd ser. (no. 34), 89-91. Portrait. Read at an Institute dinner meeting, 3 November. Rpt: As Preface to a new, posthumous, edition of Macdonald’s collection, Discriminations: Essays and Afterthoughts. New York: Da Capo, 1985; Project Mailer. See 60.8.

83.56

“Cat Lovers.” Article-interview by Marcia Froelke Coburn. (Chicago) Reader, 16 December, 46-47. Reports on Mailer’s talk at a Chicago fundraiser for cats. Mailer tells the story of two cats he knew in Paris in 1947-1948. See 83.55.

83.55

“A Tamer Mailer Finds a Cause.” Article-interview by Barbara Sullivan. Chicago Tribune, 5 December, Sec. 2, p. 8. In Chicago to speak at a fundraiser for cat agencies at the request of his friend Irma Robinson, Mailer talked about cats and other matters at a pre-fundraiser luncheon. He tells the reporter that his first murder mystery (84.17) will be published in 1984. See 83.56.

83.54

“Jackie, the Prisoner of Celebrity.” Esquire, “Golden Anniversary Collector’s Issue: 50 Who Made a Difference.” December, 185-89. Portrait of Jacqueline Kennedy. Rpt: The entire issue was republished with a preface by Lee Eisenberg and a foreword by Phillip Moffitt: New York: Villard Books, 1984. See 62.12.

83.53

“All the Pirates and People: Norman Mailer Discovers the Man Who Is Clint Eastwood.” Parade, 23 October, 4-7. Portrait-interview. Rpt: 13.1.

83.52

“The Poor American in London: The British Elections as Seen through the Trained Eye of an Innocent Abroad.” Esquire, October, 49-50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62. Essay. Rpt: Divided into three parts, “The Left,” “The Right,” “The Outcome,” Mailer’s essay first appeared in three installments (29 May, 5 June, 12 June) in the English newspaper, Mail on Sunday.

83.52

83.51

“Norman Mailer’s Ancient Magic: Machismo, Elegance and Dogs That Don’t Watch TV.” Article-interview by William F. Ryan. Virginia Country, October, 34-39, 88. A longer version of 83.27, this is perhaps Mailer’s most exhaustive conversation on Ancient Evenings (83.18), with long discussions of magic, technology, telepathy, reincarnation and erotic literature.