Norman Mailer has evolved a theory that an author must create a public personality for himself in order to sell books, and in accordance with this theory he here publishes everything he has ever written, each piece accompanied with a long and frequently fascinating introduction concerning how the work was written, what he thought about it when he wrote it, and how he thinks about it now. The material includes five excellent early short stories, his columns for the Village Voice, his now famous essay The White Negro, a couple of other (and much better essays) on David Riesman and Western Defense, a pair of passages from his forthcoming novel, as yet untitled but than which nothing more clinical has been seen since Edmund Wilson's notorious Princess with the Golden Hair. Mr. Mailer also includes a lot of opinions of his peers in the field of literature which are back-breakingly honest and also pretty shrewd. Mr. Mailer is by far the most articulate (literarily speaking) exponent of the way of life he prefers to call Hip (rather than Beat), and it is therefore the more unfortunate that another of his theories requires him to use Anglo- Saxon monosyllables on principle, because his Advertisements is practically certain to be banned in many localities, and possibly nationally. There is a good deal of nonsense in this, much very strong meat, and a lot that stands up well in spite of the framework. This is sure to be some kind of success de scandal, but the bullheaded integrity behind the undertaking compels a certain respect.
Pub Date: Nov. 6th, 1959
ISBN: 0674005902
Page count: 540pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1959


NonfictionMIND OF AN OUTLAW by Norman Mailer
by Norman Mailer
FictionTHE CASTLE IN THE FOREST by Norman Mailer
by Norman Mailer
NonfictionTHE BIG EMPTY by Norman Mailer
by Norman Mailer