Norman Mailer’s Letters on An American Dream 1963-69. Edited by J. Michael Lennon. Shavertown, PA: Sligo Press, August. 124 pp., $150.
Dedication: “For Donna, Stephen, Joseph and James. With a special appreciation for the students of English 397, Norman Mailer Seminar, at Wilkes University.”
Limited, numbered edition of 110, signed by Mr. Mailer and editor. A compilation of 76 letters to family, friends, literary associates and admirers concerning the 1964 serial publication in Esquire of Mailer’s fourth novel, its subsequent publication in revised form by Dial Press in 1965, and the 1966 Warner Brothers film version. Contains 14 illustrations (10 in color), four appendices, critical introduction, and index. Advance excerpt of nine of the letters appeared in Provincetown Arts 19 (summer 2004), 109-13. Sixteen of the letters appeared in SLNM.
“Learning from Mailer: Toss Plot, Focus on Character.” Article by Emily C. Dooley. Cape Cod Times, 11 July. The writer observes NM’s writing workshop at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. The brunt of his presentation is on the dangers of plotting a novel too tightly beforehand. “I don’t want my story to be in place before my characters develop,” he said. He also compared and contrasted first and third person points of view.
“Interview: Norman Mailer.” Academy of Achievement, 12 June. Comprehensive interview ranging over Mailer’s early life in Brooklyn, Harvard education, WWII experience, his early novels, parents and literary influences.
“Mailer: Why He is Still at War.” Article by S.H and J.P. Pennsylvania Gazette (Univ. of Pennsylvania), May-June. After being introduced by Robert F. Lucid, Mailer answered questions at the Kelly Writers House on the University of Pennsylvania campus, most of them dealing with politics and the Iraq War. He said,
The finest principles in the world in politics always converge with an audience—which is why perfectly ordinary people often become successful in politics, and brilliant people often fail. It’s because one has a sense of timing and the other doesn’t.
Preface to The Good, the Bad, and the Dolce Vita: The Adventures of an Actor in Hollywood, Paris, and Rome, by Mickey Knox, 1-5. New York: Nation Books, 1 April. Knox, one of Mailer’s oldest friends, appeared in two of his experimental films in the 1960s, and the 1967 off-Broadway production of Mailer’s play, The Deer Park (67.13). Mailer discusses Knox’s brilliant performance in the play, his screen work, his reputation a lover, and his overseas work as a dialogue coach after being blacklisted during the Red scare of the late 1950s.
“Norman Mailer on the Media and the Message.” Interview by Margo Hammond. Poynterline, 6 February. Crisp discussion of the relationship of journalism and fiction, with comments on Hemingway, Henry Miller, and Tom Wolfe.
“Immodest Proposals.” Playboy, January 2004, 90-94,198, 266, 268, 270, 272. Fiftieth anniversary issue. Long essay outlining a platform for the Democrats in the 2004 election, including ideas on corporations, taxes, education, the environment, drug decriminalization, abortion, gay marriage, homeland security, the Iraq War, and foreign policy. Rpt: MO.
[Comment of the passing of George Plimpton]. Harvard Advocate 140, no. 2 (winter), 13. Memorial number. Mailer, who acted in “Zelda, Scott and Ernest” (see 01.3) with his wife, Norris, and Plimpton more than a dozen times, lauds Plimpton as “the best gentleman most of us ever got to know.” Rpt: MO.