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In the Ring with Mailer

In the Ring with Mailer
Norman Mailer, 1977 | © Robert Belott/Alamy

In today’s TLS, James Marcus gets in the ring with Mailer by reviewing two books by Society members J. Michael Lennon and Robert J. Begiebing, Mailer’s Last Days and Norman Mailer at 100, respectively. Marcus gives an overview of Mailer’s controversial life, including the recent notion of his cancelation. He writes:

The willingness of Mailer’s peers to forgive (or at least tolerate) this assault seems old-fashioned in the worst sense. Yet it’s also true that he elicited this response more generally, even from people inclined to view him with extreme scepticism. Elizabeth Hardwick, for example, noted the “large proportions of Mailer himself, his confidence and intrepidity, his florid pattern of experience, his disasters met with an almost erotic energy of adaptation”. There was an affection, even a kind of tenderness, for his intermittent lunacy – as if the proprietors of the china shop were ultimately charmed by the bull.

Read the entire article in the Times Literary Supplement (subscription required):

Norman Mailer’s gladiatorial contest of art
“Did you ever get in the boxing ring with Norman Mailer?”, a friend once asked me. The question initially struck me as an absurdity. He might as well have