Norman Kingsley Mailer was an American novelist, journalist, essayist, playwright, filmmaker, actor, and liberal political activist. His novel The Naked and the Dead was published in 1948 and he gave it a new name. His 1968 nonfiction novel Arms of the Night won the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction as well as the National Book Award.
His most famous work is widely regarded as the song of The Executioner, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1979.
During six decades of work, Mailer had the best-selling books in each of the seven decades after World War II, more than any post-war American author.
Truman Capote, Joan Didion, Hunter S. Along with Thompson and Tom Wolfe, Mailer is considered an innovator of creative non-literaryism, sometimes called New Journalism, which uses the style and tools of literary fiction in fact-based journalism.
Mailer was also known for his essays, the most famous and reprint of which is “The White Negro”.
He was a cultural commentator and critic expressing his views through his novels, journalism, essays and often media appearances.
Often described as controversial, combative, and arrogant, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Norman Mailer — his Jewish name is Nachum Malek — was born on January 31, 1923 in Long Branch, New Jersey.
His father, Isaac Barnett Mailer, better known as Barney, was an Amigre, a South-African Jew, and his mother, Fanny, was a long-branch native whose family ran a local grocery store. His sister Barbara was born in 1927.
When Mailer was 9 years old, he moved with his family to Crown Heights, Brooklyn. An outstanding student, he was just 16 when he enrolled at Harvard University, majoring in aeronautical engineering.
However, by the sophomore year, Mailer found her place in literature. After graduating from Harvard in 1943, he was commissioned into the US Army.
Shortly after marrying B. Silverman, in 1944, he was sent to the Philippines, where he saw little combat.
He finished his military career as an occupation cook in Japan. His experiences in the military inspired him to write his first book, the semi-autobiographical The Naked and the Dead,
While he was nominated at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. The book immediately propelled him to fame at the age of 25.
In 1969, Mailer failed to run for mayor of New York City. His other works include his collection of essays The Presidential Papers (1963) and Cannibals and Christians (1966); The Executioner’s Song (1979), a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel based on the life of convicted murderer Gary Gilmore; Ancient Sham (1983), a novel set in Ancient Egypt, the first volume of an incomplete trilogy; Tough People Don’t Dance (1984), a contemporary mystery thriller; And Vishal Harot’s Ghost (1991), a novel focused on the Central Intelligence Agency.
In 1995, Mailer published Oswald’s Tale, a complete non-fictional portrayal of the US president. John F.
Kennedy’s killer. Mailer’s last two novels intercept religion and historical figures: The Gospel from the Son (1997) is a first-person “memoir” allegedly written by Jesus Christ, and The Castle in One (2007), Narrated by a devil who tells the story of Adolf Hitler’s boyhood.
In 1987, Mailer directed his first film, Tough Guys Dance. During the 1990s Mailer again drew attention to biographical essays and novels.
Picasso’s portraits A Young Man (1995) and Oswald’s Tale: An American Mystery (1995) received poor reviews.
Many critics felt that Mailer used dubious new sources for subjects whose lives had already been investigated.
The theories that Mailer has presented state that violence and death occur in the period of Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) cubism (art based on geometry, or the study of points, lines, and surfaces).
Not one to avoid challenging topics, Mailer chose in 1997 to write a novel about Jesus Christ.
As noted in the New York Times Book Review, Mailer has not only written about the life of Jesus, but a modern day Gospel, the son according to The Gospel, using the voice of Jesus – all ancient Gospel and almost A choice left by all modern novelists.
Nevertheless, like many of his other works, critics pointed to “rare powerful moments of invention” and credited Mailer for his knowledge of religious texts.