Covers the August Republican Convention and publishes his account in the 12 October New Republic.
He and Lawrence Schiller begins six months of research in the KGB archives in Minsk (then a part of the Soviet Union, now Belarus) on Lee Harvey Oswald, who lived there in 1961-62. This research will become the basis of Oswald’s Tale: An American Mystery.
Andrew Wylie becomes Mailer’s literary agent after the death of Scott Meredith.
“Norman Mailer: The Hubris of the American Vision.” Interview by Eric James Schroeder. In Vietnam, We’ve All Been There: Interviews with American Writers. Edited by Eric James Schroeder, 90-115. Westport, CT: Praeger. One of 11 interviews in this collection, including those with Michael Herr, Robert Stone, Bobbie Ann Mason, Tim O’Brien, and Larry Heinemann. Mailer’s interview contains extended discussion of the Vietnam War, WWII, and three of Mailer’s books: The Naked and the Dead (48.2), Why Are We in Vietnam? (67.15), and The Armies of the Night (68.8). Rpt: excerpts in 03.7.
How the Wimp Won the War. Northridge, Cal.: Lord John Press. Essay on the Gulf War, 28 pp., $75. No dedication. Limited edition of 301 copies. Rpt: 91.2.
Comments. In Girls Lean Back Everywhere: The Law of Obscenity and the Assault on Genius, by Edward de Grazia, passim. New York: Random House. De Grazia quotes from Mailer’s published work, from his 1965 court testimony on behalf of William Burroughs’s Naked Lunch, from his comments on Burroughs at the 1962 Edinburgh conference on the current state of the novel, and from interviews he conducted with Mailer for this book, a comprehensive and brilliant study. Mailer’s longest quote is an overview of the obscenity problems he faced with The Naked and the Dead (48.2), An American Dream (65.7) and The Armies of the Night (68.8). See 49.3, 62.24, 65.1, 65.13, 65.21, 68.31, 69.82, 81.21, 95.53, 96.7, 98.14a.
Preface to A Driving Passion, by Marco Vassi, 9-12. Sag Harbor, N.Y.: Permanent Press, November. Mailer’s preface is also an eulogy for Vassi, who was passionately devoted to all varieties of sex, and died of AIDS. Rpt: Project Mailer.
“By Heaven Inspired: Republican Convention Revisited.” New Republic, 12 October, 12, 24, 26-27, 30-35. Nonfiction narrative on the August Republican Convention in Houston. Except for his poem “Gladiators: For Hemingway” (74.16), this is Mailer’s only contribution to the New Republic. His report on the 1992 Democratic Convention has never been published. Rpt: 98.7 (partial), complete in MO. See 76.5.
Preface to The JFK Assassination: The Facts and the Theories, by Carl Oglesby, 9. New York: New American Library, May, softcover. In 189 words, Mailer praises Oglesby for his “crucial” contribution to illuminating the J.F.K. case. Rpt: Project Mailer.
“Earl and Lyndon: An Imaginary Conversation.” Vanity Fair, April, 200-203, 260. Illustrated by Philip Burke. One-act play, a conversation between Chief Justice Earl Warren and President Lyndon B. Johnson, shortly after J.F.K.’s assassination. Mailer’s final contribution to Vanity Fair as writer-in-residence. See 59.9, 91.1.
“What Debt Does Hollywood Owe to Truth.” Article by William Grimes. New York Times, 5 March, Sec. C (“Arts”), pp. 15, 22. Report of a 3 March panel debate at Town Hall in New York, convened under the auspices of several educational and cultural organizations, to discuss “the duty of art to history, fiction to fact.” Victor Navasky moderated the panel consisting of Mailer, Nora Ephron, Edward Jay Epstein and Oliver Stone, whose film, “J.F.K.,” was the centerpiece. Mailer, “who embraced, perhaps embodied, the historical complexities and ambiguities heaped up throughout the evening,” spoke both of J.F.K.’s assassination (“the mind-stultifying myth of the lone assassin”), and Stone’s film (“should be seen not as history but myth,” the story of “a huge and hideous event in which the gods warred, and a god fell”). See 92.4.
“Norman Mailer Blames Reagan for Economy.” Article by Jack Crager. The Park Slope Reader, 28 February-5 March. Report of a 20 February meeting of the Brooklyn Heights Association at which Mailer spoke and answered questions from the audience. His comments ranged from topics such as the horrors of modern architecture, to the Cold War and Russia, to the Democratic presidential candidates.