Participatory Journalism of Norman Mailer

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]mong New Journalists of the 1960s-1970s, Michael Herr, Norman Mailer, Hunter S. Thompson, and Joan Didion approached their subjects by placing themselves in the center of their narratives as protagonists and by openly acknowledging their subjective impressions of the events they reported. Unlike journalists who adopted the conventions of detachment and objectivity, these New Journalists employed their subjective, literary styles to construct their narrative personae and to dramatize not only the events like the Vietnam War and the 1972 presidential campaign but their direct participation in the stories they told. Through the critical lens of Kenneth Burke’s dramatism and Mikhail Bahktin’s dialogism, this study analyzes the rhetoric of selected texts by these New Journalists, specifically Herr’s Dispatches, Mailer’s The Armies of the Night, Thompson’s Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, and Didion’s Salvador and Miami, in a way that highlights their use of self-consciously persuasive styles not only to report on but to critique the contemporary political scene.
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