Thursday, December 06, 2007

Last word on Mailer, plus..

Phillip posted below on Mailer, and I agree. A last word, from an email I sent:

Betsy once wrote, for the MIT paper, an announcement on him-- something like "the overrated self- regarding egotist Norman Mailer will appear..."

She assumed it would be caught in rewrite but it wasn't.

His Gary Gilmore book was a good Western book but maybe twice as long as it should have been.

Remember Tallulah Bankhead's remark to him after being introduced to him at a party shortly after The Naked and the Dead was published: "Oh-- you're the young man who can't spell 'fuck'."

A lot of attention is being paid to that just- past generation of (mostly male) novelists-- in the blogosphere*; in the New Yorker (Styron; not online yet.) They were all so ..northeastern, even the ones born elsewhere, unlike the stars of the previous one like Hemingway and Faulkner.

And I wonder if novelists will ever loom so large in the culture again.

*Unique and wonderful blog-- must post on it later.

1 comment:

Phillip Grayson said...

I agree all the way. My post was a sort of ugly thrust towards saying that he (Mailer) succeeded in being something of note, a talent capable of eliciting a lot of well-deserved ambivalence. I respect his arrogance because he used it to really fug up bad instead of rest on rewriting his claim to fame. _The Executioner's Song_ is, I think, exactly 1/2 too long, but it is good. M Barney killed him with it, but it is good. I didn't find it very "western" at all, but that's likely because I don't know any better.
On that note, it's a good point that these dudes are all Nor'easters, but you just have to read a few sportscasters' columns to know that cultural influence is based on an East Coast Bias. Wink wink.