“Milosevic and Clinton.” Washington Post, 24 May, A25. In this 1500-word op-ed piece, Mailer criticizes the Clinton Administration’s bombing campaign in Kosovo and argues that the canny Milosevic duped Sec. of State Madeline Albright. In support of his argument, he explores “the visceral difference between a combat devoted uniquely to bombing, and participation in a ground war.”
“Audacity.” P.O.V. April, 64-65. Brief exploration of the word audacity as it applies to the literary life. Mailer values the trait, but says that “to be bold in everything you do, however, is absurd.” The goal has to be “interesting enough to get you to embark on long shots.” He notes that “the only novels I never finished were the ones I plotted in advance,” which he said happened twice. He concludes that “it’s more honorable to try for things at the end of your reach rather than stuff which is right there.” He cites Ancient Evenings (83.18) as his most audacious novel.
“Postwar Paris: Chronicles of Literary Life.” Paris Review, no. 150 (spring), 266-312. Twenty-one individuals reflect on Paris after WWI in this evocative symposium, including Evan S. Connell, Kaylie Jones, Rick Bass, Mary Lee Settle, Peter Matthiessen, George Plimpton, and James Dickey. The piece leads off with the comments of Mailer, Richard Wilbur, and Mailer scholar, Robert F. Lucid, an edited transcript of their conversation about Paris at an event honoring Lucid’s retirement from the University of Pennsylvania in September 1996. Mailer’ reminiscences deal with the mood of Paris in 1947, the writers he met there and the 1948 presidential campaign, in which Mailer made speeches for Henry Wallace, the Progressive Party candidate.
[Tribute to Vance Bourjaily]. New Delta Review, spring/summer. Responding to a request from the editors of the Review, Andrew Spear and Christopher Joyal, for a tribute to Bourjaily who was retiring from teaching at Louisiana State University, the school’s literary magazine, Mailer wrote an 800-word piece that recalls his first meeting with James Jones in New York in 1952, arranged by Bourjaily, and how the three young novelists “laughed and roared and drank and felt for a godly half-hour like the swashbucklers who were not, not quite.” Rpt: James Jones Literary Society Newsletter 10 (fall 2001) 01.6.
“Mailer’s Manhattan.” Interview by Michael Mailer. Details, January, 64-67. Mailer recalls the Manhattan of his earlier years, including going to Harlem on Saturday night: “We had a couple of black friends who had parties. They were poor so they gave rent parties. You paid to get in and then paid for your drinks. A friend who didn’t have money and needed it could make $100 a night.” He also praises Don DeLillo’s 1998 novel, Underworld: “He recreates the Italian part of the Bronx back in the 50’s in a way no one else has ever done.”