Norman Mailer's Later Fictions: Ancient Evenings through Castle in the Forest

Hardcover | April 15, 2010

byJohn Whalen-bridge

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Norman Mailer’s Later Fiction considers five works—Ancient Evenings (1983), Tough Guys Don’t Dance (1984), Harlot's Ghost (1991), The Gospel According to the Son (1997), The Castle in the Forest (2007)—to examine, for the first time in a full volume, Mailer’s literary maturity. Essays from esteemed scholars, Mailer's wife, and editor, discuss Mailer’s modes of cultural critique, connecting his political, theological, sexual, and aesthetic insights. This book will be essential reading for all Mailer scholars and offers provocative insights in such areas as postmodern American writing, masculinity studies, and the developing interface of literary and religious studies.

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Norman Mailer’s Later Fiction considers five works—Ancient Evenings (1983), Tough Guys Don’t Dance (1984), Harlot's Ghost (1991), The Gospel According to the Son (1997), The Castle in the Forest (2007)—to examine, for the first time in a full volume, Mailer’s literary maturity. Essays from esteemed scholars, Mailer's wife, and editor, ...

John Whalen-Bridge is Associate Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at National University of Singapore. He is the author of Political Fiction and the American Self and co-editor, with Sor-hoon Tan Hoon, of Democracy as Culture: Deweyan Pragmatism in the Age of Globalization, The Emergence of Buddhist Americ...

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Hardcover|Oct 8 2015

$120.80 online$130.00list price(save 7%)
Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 8.44 × 5.78 × 0.74 inPublished:April 15, 2010Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230100244

ISBN - 13:9780230100244

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Our Byron—Jason Epstein * Absolutely Dauntless: A Quarter-century of Sex, God, Politics, and Fame—John Whalen-Bridge * PART I: Sex * From Egypt to Provincetown, By Trump Air: The Historical Return of the Repressed in Ancient Evenings and Tough Guys Don't Dance—Scott Duguid * Mailer and the ‘Diet of Reality’: Tough Guys Don’t Dance and American Values—James Emmett Ryan * PART II: God * Mailer’s “Gnostic” Gospel—Ashton Howley * A Jew for Jesus? A Jewish Reading of Norman Mailer's The Gospel According to the Son— Mashey Bernstein * Augustinian Evil in Gospel According to the Son and The Castle in the Forest: A Case for Non-Dualism—Jeffrey F. L. Partridge I * PART III: Politics * Imperial Mailer: Ancient Evenings— Ashton Howley * Spooks and Agencies: Harlot’s Ghost and the Culture of Secrecy—Brian J. McDonald * The Nazi Occult and The Castle in the Forest: Raw History and Fictional Transformation—Heather Wolffram * PART IV: Fame * History Looking at Itself: On the Road with the Mailers and George Plimpton—Lawrence Shainberg * Late Mailer: His Writing and Reputation Since Ancient Evenings—John Whalen-Bridge * Afterword: Norman as Editor— Norris Mailer

Editorial Reviews

"The bewildering profusion of novels and non-fiction works that Norman Mailer published in his last twenty-five years, on subjects ranging from ancient Egypt to Adolf Hitler, has been comparatively neglected—and sometimes too easily dismissed—by Mailer's critics. Whatever the failures among them, these books demand and deserve closer attention. This well-edited collection of essays should provide both a needed corrective and a very useful road map to this protean body of work."—Morris Dickstein, author of Gates of Eden and Dancing in the Dark“This collection of provocative and thoughtful essays by a new generation of Mailer critics addresses what is so often overlooked: the run of major works Mailer published over the last twenty-five years of his life, beginning with Ancient Evenings. Superbly edited.”—J. Michael Lennon, co-author, with Norman Mailer, of On God: An Uncommon Conversation“This is an important study of one of the most influential and controversial writers or our era. Mailer’s eclectic career—as novelist, journalist, historian, religious writer, and, of course, celebrity—comes alive in vibrant, thorough readings of his life and work.  The essays in this volume are vital for anyone interested in the ever-shifting conceptions of what it means to be a public intellectual in the American cultural imaginary.”—Tony Trigilio, Columbia College Chicago and author of Allen Ginsberg’s Buddhist Poetics“Sometimes novels are ignored for good reason, but in Mailer's case, they deserve attention, and this focused, well-organized collection is a sensible way of tackling the books, some of them huge. Mailer is ambitious, bold, original, irritating, and at times, tasteless and silly, but less often (and for better reasons) than hostile critics like to imagine. These essays make a very useful argument: when Mailer presents a behavior (male warrior-mentality or CIA mentality, for instance), he does so not necessarily to uphold it, but rather to question it, and scrutinize its origins or its dangers. This approach to the subject matter puts a lot of critics and book reviewers in the wrong. Odd though that sounds, the essay writers make a good case that Mailer has been read naively—this collection starts to right the balance.”— Kathryn Hume, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor, Department of English, Penn State University“A spirited defense of this tantalizing writer’s late work. Lawrence Shainberg’s portrait of Mailer on the road in his seventy-ninth year is itself worth the price of the ticket.”—Carol Polsgrove, author of It Wasn't Pretty, Folks, But Didn't We Have Fun? Surviving the '60s with Esquire's Harold Hayes