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Advertisements For Myself by Norman Mailer
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Advertisements For Myself (1959)

by Norman Mailer

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Showing 5 of 5
As I remember this is a collection of essays and small pieces. Is "The White Negro" included? I think he was criticizing that bit of NY society the Leonard Bernstein was leading. ( )
  joeydag | Jul 23, 2015 |
The essays are very interesting. The fiction is ...something...I'm not sure what. ( )
  arthurfrayn | Apr 3, 2008 |
Showing 5 of 5
I suspect Mailer may create more interest in himself by having made this “clean breast of it” than he would have got by publishing a distinguished novel. The audience no longer consumes novels, but it does devour personalities. Yet what happens after one is eaten? Is one regurgitated? Or does the audience move on to its next dinner of scandal and tears, its previous meal absorbed and forgotten?
But despite a nice but small gift for self-destruction, Mailer is uncommonly adroit, with an eye to the main chance (the writer who lacks this instinct is done for in America; excellence is not nearly enough). I noted with some amusement that, despite his air of candor, he makes no new enemies in this book. He scores off those who are lost to him anyway, thus proving that essentially the work is politic. His confessions, when not too disingenuous, are often engaging and always interesting, as he tries to record his confusions...

Mailer is a Bolingbroke, a born usurper. He will raise an army anywhere, live off the country as best he can, helped by a devoted underground, even assisted at brief moments by rival claimants like myself. Yet when all is said, none of this is the way to live. And it is not a way (at least it makes the way harder) to create a literature. If it helps Hemingway to think of literature as a Golden Gloves Tournament with himself pounding Maupassant to the mat or fighting Stendhal to a draw, then no doubt the fantasy has been of some use. But there is also evidence that the preoccupation with actual political power is a great waste of time. Mailer has had the honesty to confess that his own competitiveness has wasted him as he worries about reviewers and bad publicity and the seemingly spiteful successes of other novelists.
added by SnootyBaronet | editThe Nation, Gore Vidal (Jan 2, 1960)
 
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First words
Like many another vain, empty, and bullying body of our time, I have been running for President these last ten years in the privacy of my mind, and it occurs to me that I am less close now than when I began.
Quotations
To be forced to admire what one instinctively hates, and to hate all which one would naturally love is the condition of our lives in these bad years, and so is the cause beneath other causes for our sickness and our death.
I spent the next few years trying to gobble up the experiences of a victorious man when I was still no man at all, and had no real gift for enjoying life. Such a gift usually comes from a series of small victories artfully achieved; my experience had consisted of many small defeats, a few victories, and one explosion.
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Book description
    THE NEGRO ... THE JEW ... MARXISM ... MARIJUANA ... PSYCHOANALYSIS ... WAR ... CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN WRITERS ...MURDER ... HIP .... ORGASM

are but a few of the themes Norman Mailer treats in ADVERTISEMENTS FOR MYSELF. The book is an exciting weaving together of short stories, articles, and portions of novels (published and unpublished) that he has written over the past twenty years, all connected together by a stream of autobiographical comment.
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NORMAN MAILER begins his ADVERTISEMENTS FOR MYSELF

Like many another vain, empty, and bullying body of our time, I have been running for President these last ten years in the privacy of my mind, and it occurs to me that I am less close now than when I began. Defeat has left my nature divided, my sense of timing is eccentric, and I contain within myself the bitter exhaustions of an old man, and the cocky arguments of a bright boy. So I am everythingbut my proper age of thirty-six, and anger has brought me to the edge of the brutal ....
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0674005902, Paperback)

Originally published in 1959, Advertisements for Myself is an inventive collection of stories, essays, polemic, meditations, and interviews. It is Mailer at his brilliant, provocative, outrageous best. Emerging at the height of "hip," Advertisements is at once a chronicle of a crucial era in the formation of modern American culture and an important contribution to the great autobiographical tradition in American letters.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:14 -0400)

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