This book is a comprehensive study of the work of the American author Norman Mailer, charting his response to critical events in his country’s development since 1945. Focusing on Mailer’s descriptions of World War II, 1960s counter-culture, the Vietnam War, the Apollo 11 mission and the execution of Gary Gilmore in Utah in 1977, the book analyses the native vernaculars in ten of his most critically acclaimed works. Moving beyond politically orientated scholarship, the author outlines Mailer’s New York, American GI, Mid-West and Southern styles, contextualising his prose against earlier American authors, including Henry Adams, Ernest Hemingway and John Dos Passos, and positioning his writing alongside contemporary notables such as Joan Didion, William Burroughs and Truman Capote. Incorporating over forty years of scholarship in the form of articles, reviews and interviews, this book pinpoints the American attributes in Mailer’s writing with a view to identifying trends in post-war American literary movements, the Beat Generation, New Journalism and Pop Art among others.
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2008. 272 pp.
Contents: A study of Norman Mailer’s fiction and documentary novels from 1948-1991 – Analysis of prose voice, literary technique,
narrative structure and characterisation – An in-depth account of the ‘second civil war’ trilogy The Armies of the Night,
Miami and the Siege of Chicago and Of a Fire on the Moon – Mailer’s demonstrations against the Vietnam War,
his run-ins with the Women’s Liberation movement, and occasional clashes with other American writers of the period – Mailer’s
contribution to American Naturalism, New Journalism and Faction literature.