© 2010

Norman Mailer’s Later Fictions

Ancient Evenings through Castle in the Forest

  • Editors
  • John Whalen-Bridge

Part of the American Literature Readings in the 21st Century book series (ALTC)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Absolutely Dauntless: A Quarter-Century of Sex, God, Politics, and Fame

  3. Sex

  4. God

  5. Politics

  6. Fame

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 157-157
    2. Norris Mailer
      Pages 193-194
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 195-203

About this book


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, andeditor, 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.


America fiction novel

About the authors

John Whalen-Bridge is Associate Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at National University of Singapore

Bibliographic information


"The bewilderingprofusion 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