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Literary Tourism

The Case of Norman Mailer – Mailer’s Life and Legacy

Jasna Potočnik Topler

Most of Norman Mailer’s works depict the reality of the United States of America and the complexities of the contemporary American social, political and economic scenes. They also contributed to the development of literary tourism. This monograph reveals Mailer’s literary places and points out the areas of social and political contemporary life that he most often referred to in the following works: The Naked and the Dead, An American Dream, Why Are We in Vietnam?, The Armies of the Night, Miami and the Siege of Chicago, Of a Fire on the Moon, The Executioner's Song and Why Are We at War?


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3. Mailer’s works


31 3. Mailer’s Works 3.1 A Remarkable Stylist and New Journalist Norman Mailer was a literary journalist (literary journalism is a type of literature that combines reporting based on facts with the narrative tech- niques, characteristic of literature), more precisely, a new journalist (re- porting about real-life events in complex-styled stories, this type of literary journalism emerged in 1960s), and what is most important, Mailer was a remarkable stylist, and according to Collins “the quintessential American chronicler and critic” (2014: 94). To some extent, his style was influenced by his predecessors and literary idols, including John Steinbeck, James Farrell and John Dos Passos. Some readers and critics received Mailer’s style positively, while others criticized his occupation with form. As Joan Didion wrote: “It is a largely unremarked fact about Mailer that he is a great and obsessed stylist, a writer to whom the shape of the sentence is the story” (Lennon 79). Dickstein states that “Mailer had a genius for description, for evoking atmosphere” (2007: 123), and Yalkut points out that “Mailer’s journalism has been justifiably lauded for its perspicacity, breadth of vision, and daring use of novelistic techniques” (2013: 204). Regarding the debates concerning the so-called “New Journalism” of the 1960s and 1970s, which wrestled with questions about distinction between fiction and nonfiction, objectivity and subjectivity, Yalkut argues that Mailer’s achievement in the context of American journalism history has been overlooked, asserting that “Mailer’s most significant, lasting and influential work may in fact be his journalism, particularly his early...

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