Preceded by excerpts in The New Yorker and New York Review of Books, Oswald’s Tale: An American Mystery is published on 12 May.
Receives honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania on 27 May.
Portrait of Picasso as a Young Man: An Interpretive Biography is published on 15 October. It receives the worst reviews of any of his books save Barbary Shore, many of them written by art critics.
Begins work on The Gospel According to the Son, a retelling of the New Testament as told by Jesus.
Preface to Writers: Photographs, by Sally Soames, 9. San Francisco: Chronicle Books; London: Deutsch. Mailer praises Soames, who uses only available light, in his 454-word preface to this collection of photographs of 83 writers, accompanied by a quote from the work of each. Mailer’s quote is the opening paragraph of Advertisements for Myself (59.13). See Soames’s comments on the writers she photographed, including Mailer, in Lesley White’s article, “Open Books,” (London) Sunday Times Magazine, 7 May.
Palimpsest: A Memoir. By Gore Vidal. New York: Random House. Vidal describes his first meeting with Mailer, and other encounters, here.
“Tolstoy and Chekov.” Paris Review 137 (winter), 48-49. Mailer recounts a story, perhaps apocryphal, of a conversation between the two great Russian writers.
Interview by Michael K. Glenday, 21 October 1991; and Mailer letter to him, 10 December 1993. In Norman Mailer, by Michael K. Glenday, 130, 138, respectively. New York: St. Martin’s, 1995. Two quotes from one of Mailer’s press conference interviews during a British publicity tour for Harlot’s Ghost (91.26), and one from a later letter, all dealing with the novel and the Cold War.
“Homage to Faulkner.” New Yorker, 11 December, 42. Poem.
“Scholarship Gets Boost from Mailer’s Speech.” Article by unidentified writer. Atkins (Arkansas) Chronicle, 6 December, 1. Visiting the hometown of his wife Norris Church, Mailer spoke at Arkansas Tech on 4 December, answering questions on various current events, including the O.J. Simpson trial, the war in Bosnia, welfare reform and the end of the Cold War. He says, “The United States used the Cold War to push the U.S.S.R. into bankruptcy, while President Reagan tripled the U.S. national debt.” Mailer donated his speaking fee to the Francis Gwaltney scholarship fund at Arkansas Tech, where Gwaltney taught before his death in 1981. Gwaltney served in the army with Mailer and was, according to Mailer, his oldest friend. Mailer met his sixth wife, Norris Church, through Gwaltney.
“Dysfunctionally Literate.” Column by Brad Wieners. Bay Guardian, December, 3. Encountering Mailer at a cocktail party on 6 November in San Francisco, Wieners tells him that he just read (in The F-Word by Jesse Sheidlower) that he had been forced to change “fuck” to “fug” in The Naked and the Dead (48.2). Mailer explains that he had used “fug” from the outset. See 49.3, 65.21, 68.31, 92.12. See MDL, 793.
“Self-Propelled: Mailer—with Ego Intact—Looks at Picasso’s Early Years.” Article-interview by John Barron. Chicago Sun-Times, 26 November. Besides commenting on his interest in Picasso’s early life in this piece, Mailer discusses political parties, Newt Gingrich, religion in America and the decline of interest in good novels.
“At Last, a Norman Conquest.” Article-interview by Alan W. Petrucelli. Cape Cod Times, 20 November, Sec. C, pp. 1-2. Mailer again speaks of the painters he knew in Provincetown—Franz Kline, Hans Hoffman, Robert Motherwell and Helen Frankenthaler—and his love of the town in this interview centered on 95.38. “Provincetown,” he says, “may be a joke to the rest of the Cape, but it’s perhaps the most generous small town in America, full of wonderfully goofy aspects and sweet freedom.” Mailer also notes that 95.38 was completed in 1992, but it took three years to obtain the needed permissions.