1999

Mailer’s memories of his ten months in Paris, 1947-48, are published as “Postwar Paris: Chronicles of Literary Life” in the spring number of Paris Review.

In the annual issue of Provincetown Arts magazine, Mailer discusses at length Provincetown and what it has meant to him with the magazine’s publisher, Christopher Busa, a friend and neighbor.

Provincetown Arts (1999)

Begins research on a novel about Hitler, triggered by a reading of Ron Rosenbaum’s 1998 book, Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of his Evil.

Mailer and George Plimpton (1999)

in Days | 83 Words

99.11

[Symposium Response] A Passion for Books. Edited by Harold Rabinowitz and Rob Kaplan. New York: Random House. Asked to list his favorite books, Mailer listed ten, in the following order: U.S.A., The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Look Homeward, Angel, The Grapes of Wrath, Studs Lonigan, The Great Gatsby, The Sun Also Rises, Appointment in Samarra, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Moby-Dick. In JML’s copy of this book, Mailer added this: “These were the books I loved most in college. Today I would add Tropic of Cancer.” See 89.14, in which he lists the same ten books, same order. See also 99.10, 07.44.

99.10

“Norman Mailer.” In For the Love of Books: 115 celebrated writers on the Books They Love the Most, edited by Ronald B. Shwartz, 158-59. New York: Grosset/Putnam. Mailer lists the following, one through six: U.S.A., Studs Lonigan, Das Kapital, The Decline of the West, Anna Karenina, and Look Homeward, Angel. In a postscript, he notes that with the exception of Das Kapital, he read them all before the age of twenty. See 89.14, 99.11, 07.44.

99.9a

Ex-Friends: Falling Out with Allen Ginsberg, Lionel and Diana Trilling, Lillian Hellman, Hannah Arendt, and Norman Mailer. By Norman Podhoretz. New York: Free Press, 1999. Memoir with long, bitter discussion of his broken friendship with Mailer, 178-220 and passim. See 68.4.

99.9

“The Party.” Excerpt from an unidentified interview with Mailer. Rolling Stone, December 30, 110. In this brief piece, Mailer discusses the end of the Cold War and the “subterranean shock” that it gave Americans: “When the Soviet Union went out without bloodshed or crisis, like a balloon slowly losing its air, a lot of people in America, deep down, felt cheated.” For the new millennium he offers the hope that society will realize that the incredible changes in technology are dangerous: “more information, more connection, is not going to make us more learned—we could lose our connection to existence itself.”

99.8

Mailer: A Biography. By Mary Dearborn: Houghton Mifflin, 9 December. Mailer declined to be interviewed for this book, the fourth full-length biography, but many conversations with him are quoted. Dearborn conducted interviews with approximately 50 people, including Mailer’s editors, Roger Donald, Ralph Graves and Jason Epstein, filmmakers D. A. Pennbaker and Jan Welt, and several close friends of Mailer: Richard Stratton, Ivan Fisher, Martha Thomases, Legs McNeil, and former friend, Norman Podhoretz. No members of Mailer’s family were interviewed, save his fourth wife, Beverly Bentley, who provided her candid perspective. See Mailer’s response to this biography, 99.1.

99.7

“Stormin’ Norman Says He’s Soured on Giuliani . . . Mailer: A Biography Captures This Vexing Creature.” Article-interview by Adam Begley and James Wood.” New York Observer, 6 December, 1. Mailer weighed in on the dispute between Mayor Giuliani and the Brooklyn Museum about a show titled “Sensation” that juxtaposed images of the Virgin Mary and child murderer Myra Hindley, calling it “a fracas between the swamp flies and the scumbags.” He also commented on Hillary Clinton, who was running for a U.S. Senate seat: “Hillary has on overbearing fault—she is full of cant. She always says what is most immediately useful politically to say.” The article is also a review of the new Mailer biography by Mary Dearborn, and includes comments from her.

99.6

“My Moment with Mailer.” Article-interview with Chris Wright. Boston Phoenix, 3 September, 28-30, 32. Contains an account of Mailer’s appearance at a symposium in Provincetown, and an earlier conversation with Wright. His introduction is padded, but Mailer provides some good insights on then and now in American life, aging and the clarity that comes with it, with asides on the corporation, plastic and politics.

99.5

Interview with Norman Mailer.” By Christopher Busa. Provincetown Arts 14 (summer), 138-48. In a major interview with Mailer’s friend and neighbor and editor of this magazine, Mailer speaks longer and in greater detail and nuance about what Provincetown has meant to him as an artist than in any other interview. It also includes a lengthy discussion of The Gospel According to the Son and Ancient Evenings.

Provincetown Arts 1999 cover

Interview with Norman Mailer

99.4

“A Conversation with Norman Mailer.” By J. Michael Lennon. New England Review 20 (summer), 138-48. In mid-March 1998 in Provincetown, Mailer spoke of the genesis of The Time of Our Time and the relative merits of his fiction and nonfiction narratives, with briefer comments on early fame and the cold war. Rpt: (partial) The Spooky Art (03.7), Mailer Review (2012), 67-76.