Norman Mailer And His Extraordinary Life English Literature Essay

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Norman is known all over the nation as one of best writers in American Literature. Even though Mailer was on of the best he also ventured into other aspects of literature. The aspects that he was apart of was screen writing, poetry, film directing, and many other aspects. His writing style is unlike most writers. Norman Mailer found most if not all of his inspiration horrific events and has the ability to write fictional stories about stories that actually happened.

Norman Mailer received on this earth January 31, 1923. He was the son of Isaac Barnett (an accountant) and Fanny Barnett (owner of a small business). Isaac Barnett was an accountant and Fanny Barnett was the owner of a small business. He was an only child. Graduating Boy's High School he attended Harvard University in 1939. He later graduated (cum laude) in 1943. Mailer published his first story at the age of 18.

He decided to join the U.S. Army form 1944-46 as a field artillery observer; and later became an infantry rifleman serving in the Philippines and Japan. After serving two years in the U.S, Army Mailer went back to college but in France. He attended Sorbonne at the University of Paris. In politics he was considered a "left conservative". Mailer was a member of many groups and organizations. Groups such as PEN, the American Academy Institute of Arts & Letters, and the National Institute of Arts & Letters.

Being one of the best American Novelist gives you the opportunity to acquire many awards. Mailer has received 13 awards and 4 nominations. It May take while to explain all of the awards so I will just list them for you:

"Story magazine college fiction prize-1941, National Institute and American Academy grant in literature-1960, National Book Award for nonfiction-1968, National Book Award for nonfiction-1969, Pulitzer Prize in letters-1969, George Polk Award-1969, Edward MacDowell Medal-1973, Edward MacDowell Medal-1973, National Arts Club Gold Medal-1976, Notable Book citation from the American Library Association-1979, Pulitzer Prize in letters-1979, Rose Award-1985, Emerson-Thoreau Medal- 1989, and the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters-2005."

These are all the awards that Norman Mailer has acquired over the years. He has earned these awards based on his work in fiction and non-fiction.

One of his most famous works was The Executioner's Song. It was based on interviews of family and friends Gilmore and his victims. The book is separated on half discussing what led up to the murders and the other half discusses the execution of Gilmore, their killer. This novel gave him much creditability and put on the map as far literature world. People began to know who he was and started purchasing his work. This made Mailer a very well known and high class author.

Some of Mailer's work was written from a political stand point such as The Armies of the Night and The Presidential Papers. He focuses on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions of 1960, 1964, 1968, 1972, 1992, and 1996. While in college Mailer published The Naked and the Dead which was based on his service in World War II. The book was a New York Times best seller 62 weeks straight.

December 15, 1971 Norman Mailer was a guest on the Dick Cavett Show with Janet Flanner. It is said that Mailer head butted Gore Vidal. This happening during the show, but the showed was aired Norman and Gore had an argument that had mutual insults.

A 1971 interview with Norman Mailer was not going well. Mailer moved his chair away from the other guests (Gore Vidal and Janet Flanner), and Cavett joked that "perhaps you'd like two more chairs to contain your giant intellect?" Mailer replied "I'll take the two chairs if you all accept finger-bowls." Mailer later said to Cavett "Why don't you look at your question sheet and ask your question?" to which Cavett replied "Why don't you fold it five ways and put it where the moon don't shine?" A long laugh ensued, after which Mailer asked Cavett if he had come up with that line and Cavett replied "I have to tell you a quote from Tolstoy?" (Wikipedia 1)

In 1955 wrote the novel Deer Park which discusses his many experiences as a screenwriter in Hollywood in 1949-1950. At first the novel was rejected by seven different publishers. The reason it was rejected so much because of its strong sexual content. The novel was eventually was publish by George Putman.

In 1991 Mailer wrote his longest novel ever, Harlot's Ghost. The novel was an outstanding 1310 pages. The novel discussed the untold dramas in the CIA from the ending of WWII to 1965. Mailer produced a great deal of research for this novel. The book still to this day is on the CIA's reading lists. He planed of writing a sequel to Harlot's Ghost and would it Harlot's Grave, but other things came up and it was never created.

Mailer didn't just write novels, he also wrote some essays that were submitted into a journalism column. He wrote essays such as the White Negro, Village Voice, Superman Comes to the Supermarket and more. Mailer has some of his work featured in "Esquire" magazine. His involvement in journalism produced books such as Miami and the Siege of Chicago (1968), The Armies of the Night (1968), and the Prisoner of Sex (1971). These books contributed to fiction-writing in journalism. (Wikipedia 1)

As Mailer experimented with fiction and non-fiction novels, he produced a play for his The Deer Park. It was staged at Theatre De Lys in Greenwich Village. He developed another screen write called Maidstone. During the play Norman T. Kingsley (Norman Mailer) and Raoul Rey O'Houlihan (Rip Torn) get into a "real life" fight. Resulting in Torn striking Mailer with a hammer giving him head damage. (Galenet 2)

Norman Mailer was married six different times to six different women and had a total of 9 children. His first wife was Beatrice Silverman and they were married in 1944. They had one child together, Susan Mailer. They later got divorced in 1952. His second wife was Adele Morales and they got married in 1954. They had two daughters together, Danielle and Elizabeth Mailer.

In 1960, Norman Mailer stabbed his wife with a penknife at a party and almost killed her. Mailer was sent to Bellevue Hospital for 17 days, his wife would not press charges. Mailer pleaded guilty to assault and was given a suspended sentence. They were later divorced in 1962. His ex-wife would recover and in 1997 she wrote a memoir of their life together. She called it the Last Party.

Mailer's third wife was a British heiress and journalist named Jeanne Campbell. She was the only daughter of the 11th Duke of Argyll. She also was the granddaughter of Lord Beaverbrook. They had one daughter together, Katie Mailer who would later become an actress. The two of them were divorced on 1962.

Mailer's fourth wife was Beverly Bentley in 1963. She was a former model who later became an actress. They had 2 sons together Michael and Stephen Mailer. Michael was a producer and Stephen was an actor. They were married for 17 years, until they were divorced in 1980. His fifth wife was Carol Stevens who was a jazz singer; they got married on November 7, 1980.

They had one child together, Maggie Mailer who was born in 1971. There marriage (like most of Norman Mailer Marriages) was very short. They were divorced the very next day in Haiti on November 8, 1980. Mailer's last and final wife was Norris Church, they got married in 1980. She was a former model and painter who later became a writer.

They had one son together named John Buffalo Mailer who was also a writer. Mailer would also adopt Norris's son Matthew Norris. Mailer and Norris first met in 1975 in Russellville, Arkansas. He was visiting an old army friend at the time. His name was Francis Gwaltney who was also his wife's Creative Writing professor at Arkansas Tech.

They were introduced to each other at a party were Mailer was honored by a local newspaper editor, Van A. Tyson. In 2005 Norman Mailer co-wrote the novel Big Empty with his son John Buffalo Mailer. John was 27 at the time when he and his father wrote the novel. The novel has some of the basic qualities of a "Norman Mailer" novel. The book discusses several things that go on in America. Such as: Boxing, Sex, Politics, Morality, Myth, God and several other things.

Norman Mailer died on November 10, 2007 from acute renal failure. Mailer past one month after he had lung surgery, at Mount Sinai Hospital, in Manhattan New Work. Norman Mailer left behind a wife, 9 children, 6 plays, 10 biographies, and 33 novels.

Norman Mailer left us quotes such as:

"A modern democracy is a tyranny whose borders are undefined; one discovers how far one can go only by traveling in a straight line until one is stopped." (BrainyQuote3)

"America is a hurricane, and the only people who do not hear the sound are those fortunate if incredibly stupid and smug White Protestants who live in the center, in the serene eye of the big wind." (BrainyQuote3)

"Each day a few more lies eat into the seed with which we are born, little institutional lies from the print of newspapers, the shock waves of television, and the sentimental cheats of the movie screen." (BrainyQuote3)

Norman Mailer legacy will always be remembered. Especially by those he influenced including his children who followed in his foot steps.