ExSong Screenplay

DID YOU KNOW? In 1983, Mailer’s screenplay for The Executioner’s Song (directed by his long-time collaborator, Lawrence Schiller) was nominated for an Emmy. Tommy Lee Jones, in a break-through role, won one for playing Gary Gilmore, who was executed by a firing squad in January 1977. He was the first person executed in the U.S. in the […]

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Letters

DID YOU KNOW? In the Mailer Archive at the Harry Ransom Center (HRC) of the University of Texas-Austin, there are 222 boxes of Mailer letters. They cover the years 1939-2005. According to Steve Mielke, who was the supervising archivist cataloging Mailer’s papers, the number of letters in each box averaged 187 letters, or a total […]

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How costly is defeat when it is not soothed by great consciousness and how wasteful is the profit of victory when there is not the courage to employ it.
Norman Mailer, Advertisements for Myself
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I learned a great deal from writing classes. I don't sneer at them. . . . [W]hat is good is you get a wonderful sense of audience. . . . And it also chops down that terribly unstable vanity that young writers have, you know, where they think, "I'm a great writer," and at the same time they can't take a single criticism, and writing courses are good for that. They weather you. It's a little bit like a kid who wants to play varsity football but never tries out for the team. So you go to that writing class and you get toughened up a little.
Norman Mailer, interview The Academy of Achievement, June 12, 2004
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Modern Architecture

DID YOU KNOW? Perhaps the rarest of Mailer publications is his rebuttal to the response of a major architect, Vincent Scully, to Mailer’s August 1963 “Big Bite” column in Esquire. In that column, Mailer attacks modern architecture for being unimaginative, ugly and totalitarian: “The essence of totalitarianism is that it beheads. It beheads individuality, variety, dissent, […]

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Works and Days

DID YOU KNOW? Mike and his wife Donna published a comprehensive annotated bibliography listing every book, essay, poem, journalistic report, letter to the editor, and so on, published by Mailer from 1941-1998. Titled Norman Mailer: Works and Days, it has 1100 entries. It was selected by Choice Magazine as “an outstanding scholarly title” in 2001.

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Violence is the last frontier in literature.
Norman Mailer, The Paris Review, 2007
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Decade after decade, artists came to paint the light of Provincetown, and comparisons were made to the lagoons of Venice and the marshes of Holland, but then the summer ended and most of the painters left, and the long dingy undergarment of the gray New England winter, gray as the spirit of my mood, came down to visit.
Norman Mailer, Tough Guys Don’t Dance
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Don Juan in Hell

DID YOU KNOW? In the fall of 2002 Mailer directed a one-night staged reading of Don Juan in Hell in Provincetown, MA. He played Don Juan, his wife Norris Church Mailer played his wife Dona Ana, Mike Lennon was her father, the Commodore, and Vidal played the Devil. He wore a jacket with a wine-red vest and […]

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The natural role of twentieth-century man is anxiety.
Norman Mailer, The Naked and the Dead
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