“Mailer and the Engines of Destruction.” Article-interview by Terry Coleman. Guardian, 20 October. Rambling discussion at Brown’s Hotel in London during Mailer’s tour to promote 84.17. Politics—President Reagan, Geraldine Ferraro, Margaret Thatcher and Casper Weinberger—are discussed more than literature. Mailer says that Reagan “believes America’s a magical place. And that everything will turn out all right. That’s what they used to tell us in B-movies 50 years ago.”
“Behind the Image.” Article-interview by Albert Watson. The Newcastle Journal, 20 October, 10. Mailer discusses 84.17, and also talks about his self-image in the 1940s: “As a young man I was very shy, thought I can’t pretend I haven’t changed since then. It was like being a bird in the jungle, living the life of a bird, and suddenly being treated like a lion. You have to stalk though that jungle like a lion, knowing all the time that you’re really a bird.”
“Television: Fisticuffs.” Column by Hugo Williams. New Statesman, 19 October, 39-40. Report on a 14 October London television program, “Face the Press.” Mailer is sharply questioned by journalists Germaine Greer, Christopher Hitchens and Anthony Howard on what they take to be his obsession with homoeroticism in 84.17.
“Mixing It with Mailer.” Article-interview by Martyn Harris. New Society, 18 October, 99-100. On the English promotional tour for 84.17, Mailer discusses theology with Harris.
“Thoughts of a Tough Guy.” Article-interview by Dermot Purgavie. Mail On Sunday Magazine, 14 October, 78. In this interview, conducted partly in Brooklyn and partly in London, where Mailer traveled for the 15 October publication of Tough Guys Don’t Dance (84.17), Mailer explains how he came to write it:
I was truly in debt and I owed my publisher a great deal of money. And then the day of reckoning came and I realised I damn well had to write a book. It had been a book I had been trying to start all year and I hadn’t been able to get near it. And it was if suddenly my mind cleared. It was one of those joke situations where they give Popeye the can of spinach. It took 61 days.
“Taming of a Tough Guy.” Article-interview by Vicki Mays. Syndicated Features Limited (London), mid-October. This five-page piece was presumably published in the U.K., but the publication has not been located. Mailer talks about Tough Guys Don’t Dance (84.17), The Naked and the Dead (48.2), and The Executioner’s Song (79.14), and the way the media has depicted him: “When I read things about me I am always struck by how far away from me they are. It doesn’t mean they are not accurate but my actions always seem so bizarre in print because the inner connections are not there. I seem to extraordinarily eccentric.” He says he is reluctant to write his own autobiography: “It has got to be accurate and that means I have got to go back and check what happened.” He added, “Also, it would mean a total surrender to self-absorption.”
“Mailer Calls God the Best Novelist.” Article-interview by Richard Kenyon. Milwaukee Journal, 4 October. On the book tour for 84.17, Mailer talks about how much writing time he has remaining: “Maybe I have 10 years left to write, maybe 15 and that’s stretching it. I don’t know if I want to spend a year or two on journalism, unless the event is enormous and I feel I can bring something special to it.” He also says that after he finished The Execution’s Song (79.14) “I was impressed by how God is a better novelist than the novelist. That is, if I had imagined the book, I would have done certain things with the character and they wouldn’t have been as interesting as the real things that happened with the characters in the story.”
“American Ego.” Article-interview by Richard Rayner. Time Out (London), 27 September-3 October, 14-16. Based on an interview conducted in Brooklyn at the same time as 84.24, Rayner’s article parallels Howard’s closely.
“For Mailer, a ‘Tough’ Job: Pounds for His Thoughts.” Article-interview by Gary Abrams. Los Angeles Times, 23 September. Mailer discusses 84.17, and also speaks of his public reputation: “I think I probably give the American public a headache because everything about me is so contradictory. I’m an oxymoron to the American public—I’m a wild man, I’m a family man; I’m a great writer; I can’t write at all. So I think the average person bridles a little but when they hear my name.”
“Norman Mailer: Doing a Number on the American Dream.” Article-interview by Jerry Bauer. Midweek (London), 20 September, 4-6. Despite several errors, Bauer’s piece has some good exchanges with Mailer, whom he interviewed in his Brooklyn home over dinner. On Tough Guys Don’t Dance (84.17): “From the title, you can tell I didn’t take myself too seriously. I hope the reader won’t either. I want him to have fun with the book.”