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Black Lamb

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Now in its 14th year of publication, this magazine was created to offer the discerning reader a stimulating selection of excellent original writing. Black Lamb Review is a literate rather than a literary publication. Regular columns by writers in a variety of geographic locations and vocations are supplemented by features, reviews, articles on books and authors, and a selection of “departments,” including an acerbic advice column and a lamb recipe.

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A Week in Literary History

January 31st, 2002

In 1923, American novelist Norman Mailer (The Naked and the Dead, 1948) is born in Long Branch, N.J.

mailer1.jpgNorman Mailer, b. January 31, 1923, d. 2007

Why did Norman Mailer seem like the Ur-American writer? Because he actually believed in the Great American Novel? Yes. Because he carried on Hemingway’s tradition of the novelist as pugilist, always involved in a fistfight with Shakespeare or Turgenev or Twain (or one of his six wives)? Yes. Because he was brash and ambitious, like a gauche American businessman buying up companies overseas? Yes. Because he consistently brandished his primitive views on sexuality and never could write a credible female character? Most assuredly, yes. And yet, and yet…. Mailer’s novels started pretty well and got steadily worse, but his non-fiction writing was always engaged, pungent, and thought-provoking. If his constant confessional impulse somtimes got tiring, his mind never did, even at its most outrageous. For more than fifty years he confronted the big themes of his time and shed light on them. Mailer was frequently been implausible, but he was never boring.

Suggested Reading Fiction and non-fiction The Naked and the Dead, 1948. Barbary Shore, 1951. The Deer Park, 1955. The White Negro, 1957. Advertisements for Myself, 1959. The Presidential Papers, 1963. An American Dream, 1964. Cannibals and Christians, 1966. Why Are We in Vietnam?, 1967. The Armies of the Night, 1968. Miami and the Siege of Chicago, 1969. A Fire on the Moon, 1970. The Prisoner of Sex, 1971. Existential Errands, 1972. St. George and the Godfather, 1972. Marilyn, 1973. The Fight, 1975. Some Honorable Men, 1976. Genius and Lust, 1976. The Transit of Narcissus, 1978. The Executioner’s Song, 1979. Of Women and Their Elegance, 1980. Of a Small and Modest Malignancy, 1980. Pieces and Pontifications, 1982. Ancient Evenings, 1983. Tough Guys Don’t Dance, 1983. Harlot’s Ghost, 1991. Portrait of Picasso as a Young Man, 1996. Oswald’s Tale, 1996. The Gospel According to the Son, 1997. The Time of Our Time, 1998. Films Beyond the Law, 1968. Maidstone, 1969. Wild 90, 1969. Tough Guys Don’t Dance, 1987. Ringside, 1997.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

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