Saturday, November 10, 2007

Writer Norman Mailer Dead at 84


Mailer was one of the most prolific authors and artists, both loved and hated. He passed away this morning from acute renal failure at the age of 84.

Here are some of the many articles devoted to the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner.

MSNBC/AP: Writer Norman Mailer dead at 84 -- "Mailer built and nurtured an image over the years as pugnacious, streetwise and high-living. He drank, fought, smoked pot, married six times and stabbed his second wife, almost fatally, during a drunken party."

Reuters: Author Norman Mailer dies aged 84 -- "Mailer's works were often filled with violence, sexual obsession and views that angered feminists. He later reconsidered many of his old positions but never surrendered his right to speak his mind. Detractors considered him an intellectual bully and he feuded with fellow authors like Truman Capote, William Styron, Tom Wolfe and Norman Podhoretz."

CNN: Prolific, outspoken author Norman Mailer dies -- "Author of "The Naked and the Dead," "The Armies of the Night" and "The Executioner's Song," Mailer was probably the most famous of the generation of writers who came of age after World War II -- he was certainly the most colorful, and most pugnaciously so."

Critical Mass: Norman Mailer, 1923-2007 -- "There was a time when Norman Mailer used to talk about the Big Book. It prowled the interviews he gave in the 1950s like a white whale, blasting into view and then plunging back into the darkness, where it would lurk until the next publication date. With each decade, and each new book, from The American Dream to The Executioner's Song, until his novel about Jesus Christ, The Gospel According to the Son, it seemed like Mailer might yet drag his promised catch to shore. And at 84, America's most pugilistic novelist has done something unusual. He's beginning to say he may not get it."

The Nation: Norman Mailer Brawled With Bush to the Bitter End -- "There is much, much to be said of Norman Mailer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and world-class rabble-rouser who died Saturday at age 84. But the pugilistic pensman would perhaps be most pleased to have it known that he went down swinging. The chronicler of our politics and protests in the 1960s with two of the era's definitional books--1968's Armies of the Night and Miami and the Siege of Chicago, did not rest on the laurels--and they were legion--earned for exposing the dark undersides of the presidencies of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.

Time: Why Norman Mailer Mattered -- "He was, of course, a great conundrum. It was even there in his voice, which hovered in some undisclosed location between the Brooklyn of his youth and the Harvard of his student years. That the arc of his own career was one of his perennial subjects was not just a measure of his egotism — which was boundless — but also of his certainty that the judgment upon him of public opinion was, itself, an important sign of the times. He could never stop measuring his reputation against every other writer's; he spent years waving his Brooklyn matador's cape at Hemingway, boxing with Tolstoy (and anybody else who got in his way) and always licking his own wounds. Mailer's forte was intricate readings of his own inner conditions. His mistake was to believe in them too much as a guide to the wider world. But as Mailer would have asked: What else do we have to go on?"

New York Times: Norman Mailer, Outspoken Novelist, Dies at 84 -- "Mr. Mailer belonged to the old literary school that regarded novel writing as a heroic enterprise undertaken by heroic characters with egos to match. He was the most transparently ambitious writer of his era, seeing himself in competition not just with his contemporaries but with the likes of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky."


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