Excerpt from “Mailer’s Radical Bridge”

Published in Narrative 7 (Fall 1977), 170-88. “What is life but the angle of vision? A man is measured by the angle at which he looks at objects.” Emerson, “Natural History of Intellect” Norman Mailer’s development as a writer parallels at every point his growing awareness of the difficulty, and doubtful wisdom, of attempting to […]

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Comfortless was my religion, anxiety of anxieties, for I believed God was not love, but courage. Love came only as a reward.
Norman Mailer, An American Dream
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I got a sense of the power of restraint from Hemingway, which is the smallest way to put it, because I got much more than that from him. I learned the power of simple language in English. He showed what a powerful instrument English is if you keep the language simple, if you don't use too many Latinate words. And from Faulkner I learned the exact opposite, that excess can be thrilling, that, "Don't hold yourself in. Don't rein yourself in. Go all the way. Go over the top. Overdo it." And between the two, it's almost as if you've now been given your parameters. This is the best of one extreme and this is the best of another. And somewhere between the two you may be able to find your style in time to come.
Norman Mailer, The Academy of Achievement Interview, June 12, 2004
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Berkeley Audience

DID YOU KNOW? Mailer’s largest live audience was approximately 10,000. On May 21, 1965, he spoke at a Teach-in at the University of California, Berkeley, which was organized by Jerry Rubin and others. He began his speech by noting that the citizenry’s “buried unvoiced faith that the nature of America” had over the past months […]

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Repetition kills the Soul.
Norman Mailer, The Spooky Art
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Favorite Word

DID YOU KNOW? Asked to name his favorite word by the New York Times, Mailer said: “Improvisational.”

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But my feeling is that there's no such thing as nonfiction. Everything is fiction, because in the moment someone tries to relate an experience of what happened to them, it's gone. The reality that was felt at the moment is almost impossible to describe. It's one reason why there are writers, to come close to how it felt when it happened.
Norman Mailer, The Academy of Achievement Interview, June 12, 2004
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Mike Introduces the Biography

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Slideshow of Mailer’s Provincetown Home

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Bio: British Cover

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