04.13

The Election and America’s Future.” New York Review of Books, 4 November, 6-17. Mailer is one of 14 individuals, including Russell Baker, Anthony Lewis, Thomas Powers, and Garry Wills, who contributed to this symposium. His 1200-word contribution, pp. 13-14, is divided into two parts. The first deals with the spiritual condition of the U.S., a “guilty nation,” and why 9/11 “was the jackpot” for Pres. Bush and Karl Rove, concluding with advice for John Kerry in the presidential debates. The second part, written after the debates, is more optimistic, but ends with the lines: “Perhaps it is no longer Jesus or Allah who oversees our fate but the turn of the Greek gods to take another run around the track. When it comes to destiny, they were the first, after all, to conceive of the ironies.” Rpt: 13.1.

02.14

“Norman Mailer.” In John Steinbeck: Centennial Reflections by American Writers, edited by Susan Shillinglaw, 62. San Jose, CA: San Jose State University. In a 219-word contribution, Mailer expresses his admiration for Steinbeck, especially for his “marvelous and ironic sense of compassion, never sentimental but daring all the time.” 

00.14

Untitled contribution in the “Sense of Place” chapter of Three Minutes or Less: Life Lessons from America’s Greatest Writers, 20-21. From the archives of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. New York, Bloomsbury, 2000. “When you’re writing,” Mailer says in his preface to this brief excerpt describing Provincetown in the late fall from Tough Guys Don’t Dance (84.17), “there’s nothing more difficult than to come up with a good description of place.”

82.25

Contribution to Happy Birthday, Kurt Vonnegut: A Festschrift for Kurt Vonnegut on His Sixtieth Birthday, compiled by Jill Krementz, 99. New York: Delacorte. Five hundred numbered copies. In 147 words, Mailer talks of his pleasure in dining with Vonnegut, who “is almost a dead ringer in physical appearance for Mark Twain.”

79.30

“The Books That Made Writers.” Symposium contribution. New York Times, 25 November, 7, 80-82. Twenty-two writers, including Mailer, Gabriel García Márquez, Joyce Carol Oates, Dr. Suess, Tom Wolfe, Malcolm Cowley and P.D. James, answer the question: “What book made you decide to become a writer and why?” Mailer names Studs Lonigan by James T. Farrell, Rafael Sabatini’s Captain Blood, Jeffrey Farnol’s The Amateur Gentleman and the novels of Sir Walter Scott and Thomas Hardy. See 71.32.

75.10

“The Meaning of Vietnam.” New York Review of Books, 12 June, 23-33. Fifteen individuals “were asked to consider the questions of the responsibility for the war; its effects on American life, politics, and culture, and the U.S. position in the world; and the prospects of recovery from it—or any other questions they felt to be important.” Besides Mailer, the contributors include Noam Chomsky, Elizabeth Hardwick, Christopher Lasch, Robert Lowell, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag and Gore Vidal.

74.11

“The Talk of the Town: Notes and Comments.” New Yorker, 20 May, 29-34. Symposium contribution. Thirty-four individuals comment on the tape recordings made by President Nixon, including Mailer, William Scranton, Joseph A. Califano, Arthur Schleslinger Jr., William Westmoreland, George Reedy and John Kenneth Galbraith. Mailer’s comment is the longest. He calls Nixon “the stubbornest man in America,” a man “obliged to drink the cup of his own excretions.” Rpt: 98.7. See 74.13.

68.3

“Black Power: A Discussion.” Partisan Review 35 (spring), 218-21. Symposium contribution written in response to Martin Duberman’s piece on Black Power in the previous number of Partisan Review. Other contributors are Robert Coles, Ivanhoe Donaldson, Paul Feldman, Charles V. Hamilton, Abbie Hoffman, Tom Kahn, William Melvin Kelley, Jack Newfield, Fred Powledge, Stephen Thernstrom and Dr. Nathan Wright Jr. Rpt: As “Contribution to a Partisan Review Symposium” in 72.7, 82.19, and in 13.1. See 68.13, 68.19.

67.12

“In Clay’s Corner.” Partisan Review 34 (summer), 458-62. Symposium contribution. Mailer, Frank Conroy, Nat Hentoff, John Hollander, Robert Lowell and Richard Poirier comment on the refusal of Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) to be drafted into the U.S. Army. Mailer’s statement is 240 words in length. Rpt: As “An Appreciation of Cassius Clay” in 72.7, 82.19. See 75.12.

63.38

“The Fate of the Union: Kennedy and After.” New York Review of Books, 26 December, 6. Symposium contribution. This 175-word tribute is echoed, in part, by Mailer’s “Special Preface to Bantam Edition” of The Presidential Papers, May 1964 (64.15). Rpt: A Tribute to John F. Kennedy, edited by Pierre Salinger and Sander Vanocur. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 29 May 1964. See 76.13.