Monday, November 19, 2007

Why Norman Mailer is immortal...

From The Armies of the Night, his essay-novel about the 1967 anti-war rallies, in which he resorts to every bit of skullduggery to get himself arrested:
...Mailer finally came to decide that his love for his wife while not at all equal or congruent to his love for America was damnably parallel. It was not inconceivable to him that if he finally came to believe his wife was not nearly so magical as he would make her, but was in fact petty, stingy, small-minded, and evilly stubborn (which is what he told her in many a quarrel) why then he would finally lose some part of his love affair with America, he would have to, because there were too many times when thinking of his country and some new one of the unspeakable barbarities it invented with every corporation day, he would decide that no it would not be an altogether awful country because otherwise how would his wife, a Southerner and an Army brat, have come out so subtle, so supple, so mysterious, so fine-skinned, so tender and wise.
It's all there: the sentimentality about women, the hysterical analogies, the preening, the (really) subtle self-parody. Let us suggest that it's a relief he has no real imitators.

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