Mailer by the Decade

The literary production—quantity, quality and diversity—of Norman Mailer, like that of some other prolific writers, varied considerably over the course of a long life.  He moved from genre to genre, rotating his crops, so to speak, from the 1940s to the 2000s, and published 40 major books over six decades.  While he began and ended as a novelist, and by aspiration and achievement always described himself as one, only eleven of his books are novels.  The other 29 run the gamut from nonfiction narrative (of several varieties, some of which he invented; this is the largest category), to plays, screenplays, poetry, essays of every stripe, short stories, biographies, interviews, sports reportage, literary criticism, and a book of line drawings, interspersed with poems.  The only prose form he did not attempt was autobiography; he believed writing one would be a tombstone, the end of his literary career.

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