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Norman Mailer

America’s cultural commentator

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Norman Mailer

Norman Mailer (1923–2007) was one of the 20th century’s greatest and most influential writers, as well as one of America’s most renowned and controversial literary figures. The best-selling author of a dozen novels and 20 works of nonfiction, he also wrote stage plays, screenplays, television miniseries, hundreds of essays, two books of poetry, and a collection of short stories. A two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, he lived in Brooklyn, New York, and Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Norman Mailer

With his refined and incisive writing, Norman Mailer reflected on and interpreted some of the most significant events of the 20th century. American novelist, journalist, essayist, playwright, film-maker, actor, and political activist, Mailer was raised in Brooklyn, New York and drafted into the US army, the experience of which inspired him to write his first novel, The Naked and the Dead. Along with his novel The Executioner’s Song and non-fiction work The Armies of the Night, which both won the Pulitzer Prize, Mailer’s journalism and essays marked critical moments in American culture.

Norman Mailer’s writing is concerned with the political and social landscape of America, primarily during the middle of last century. Along with Truman Capote, Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe, Mailer is considered a key innovator of creative non-fiction. This ‘new journalism’ paired fact-based information and observation with styles and devices of non-fiction, resulting in prose that emphasized the ‘truth’ rather than facts, all expressed through a subjective perspective. Mailer founded the magazine The Village Voice as a platform for such content, much of which took the form of counter-cultural essays.

TASCHEN has published a series of books that juxtapose Mailer’s writing with iconic photography. Moonfire pairs Mailer’s coverage of the 1969 moon landing for LIFE magazine with exquisite images from NASA. Excerpts from his 1973 Marilyn Monroe biography are tied together with photographer Bert Stern’s intimate Last Sitting pictures in another title. Mailer’s article covering the 1960 election of John F. Kennedy for Esquire magazine, “Superman Comes to the Supermarket,” is presented in a book alongside images of the campaign shot by some of the best photojournalists of the day.

Additionally, TASCHEN has conceived of a publication bringing an abridged version of Mailer’s lauded book The Fight, which tracked the Rumble in the Jungle boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, with Neil Leifer’s groundbreaking pictures of the event.