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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Books: Pugilistic Pulitzer Prize Winner Norman Mailer Dead at 84

Norman Mailer, one of the postwar literary icons of American literature has died. He leaves behind a vast, varied, and messy legacy of writing with many peaks and valleys. Though his avowed form was the novel, he was perhaps most successful creatively when exploring non-fiction. Along with Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe he was arguably a  pioneer of what some would call "new journalism" in which the author is as much part of the piece as the subject. He took on many personas, all of them tough and ready for a tussle. He was a famously vocal anti-feminist in the 70's, and did much to gain the release of convicted murderer Jack Henry Abbott at the end of that decade. Abbott killed a waiter in 1981 and the outcry following that led to much condemnation of Mailer and at least one hilarious Saturday Night Live sketch featuring Eddie Murphy as a prison poet ("Kill my landlord -- c-i-l-l my landlord" went one memorable line). Here is the New York Times obit.

Here's Mailer (while the link lasts) going all Mike Tyson on the set of an early 70's film and biting Rip Torn's ear. Not for the faint of heart but see kids, this is what happens when we read too much Hemingway:

And here he is taking the piss out of Neo-Cons and President Bush recently:

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