1985

On 28 August, Mailer’s mother dies.

On 20 November, he receives Lord and Taylor’s annual Rose Award for public accomplishment.

Norman Mailer (1985)

in Days | 20 Words

85.16

Seminar Comments. In From Fact to Fiction: Journalism and Imaginative Writing in America, by Shelley Fisher Fishkin, 208-9. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Speaking in Fishkin’s 1982 journalism seminar at Yale, Mailer discusses the melding of journalism and fiction in The Executioner’s Song (79.14).

85.15

“Norman Mailer.” Interview by Charles Ruas. In Conversations with American Writers, by Charles Ruas, 18-36. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Thirteen other writers are included: Eudora Welty, Truman Capote, Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams, Marguerite Young, William Burroughs, Joseph Heller, Susan Sontag, E.L. Doctorow, Toni Morrison, Paul Theroux, Robert Stone and Scott Spencer. Most of the interview, which took place in 1982, is given over to a discussion of Jack Abbott, violence, The Executioner’s Song (79.14) and Ancient Evenings (83.18), of which Mailer says: “I just finished Ancient Evenings a couple of weeks ago, and it’s 1,744 double-spaced pages.” See 80.10.

85.14

Introduction to new edition of After the Lost Generation: A Critical Study of the Writers of Two Wars, by John W. Aldridge, xvii-xxii. New York: Arbor House, softcover. Mailer received his first important critical notice in the first edition (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1951), and Aldridge became a good friend. Rpt: Project Mailer.

85.13

Interviews by Peter Manso. In Mailer: His Life and Times, by Peter Manso, passim. New York: Simon and Schuster. Second book-length (oral) biography of Mailer. Contains original interviews with Mailer, his family, friends and acquaintances; a total of 151 individuals are identified in the “Contributors” section, many of them never interviewed before or since. Includes a partial Mailer family tree, excerpts from reviews of many Mailer books and some of his letters to Francis Irby “Fig” Gwaltney, a detailed index and scores of photographs from all periods of Mailer’s life. The brunt of the book is the wide range and number of utterances on Mailer’s life; its weakness is the paucity of editorial synthesis and perspective. Mailer’s work is scanted in favor of his life.

Mailer: His Life and Times

85.12

Huckleberry Finn, Alive at 100. Montclair, N.J.: Caliban Press. Essay, 9 pp., $18. Limited edition of 250, 200 softcover and 50 in boards. Rpt: 84.32, 98.7.

85.11

A Fragment From Vietnam: A Play in One Act. Helsinki: Eurographica, softcover. One-act play with accompanying self-interview (67.16), 39 pp. Limited edition of 350, plus 12 author’s copies. Adapted by Mailer from Why Are We In Vietnam? (67.15). Rpt: 72.7, 82.19. See 67.15 for context and description of this reprint; 72.18.

85.10

“The Cathedral of St. Isaac in Leningrad.” Partisan Review 51 (double issue: 51:4, 1984 and 52:1, 1985), 535. Poem. Rpt: Partisan Review: The 50th Anniversary Edition, edited by William Phillips. New York: Stein and Day.

85.9

“Censorship to Be a Topic of PEN Congress Panel.” Article by Edwin McDowell. New York Times, 24 December, Sec. C, p. 11. Overview of the program of the PEN Congress, with a quote from Mailer on the purpose of the event. See 85.1, 85.2, 85.6, 85.8, winter and spring 1986 entries.

85.8

“Mailer Earns Praise for PEN Efforts.” Article-interview by Edwin McDowell. New York Times, 23 December, Sec. C, p. 12. Comment on Mailer’s role as organizer and fundraiser for the 12-18 January 1986 PEN Congress. Mailer also reveals that he is “working on a long novel [91.26] whose subject I would prefer to keep a secret.” See 85.1, 85.2, 85.6, 85.9, winter and spring 1986 entries.