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Courage through Opposition: The Political Resonance of Norman Mailer
First articulated in his 1957 novel The Deer Park, Mailer’s approach to life echoes throughout his oeuvre: “there was that law of life so cruel and so just which demanded that one must grow or else pay more for remaining the same.”[a] One might even go so far as to call this “Mailer’s Law,” as it seems to provide a synecdouche for his career as an artist and public figure. As an exemplar of this early and opt-articulated credo, Mailer never stood still for long. Not one to rest on his laurels or to be dissuaded by critical disapproval, Mailer made strides to, as he states in Advertisements for Myself, “settle for nothing less than making a revolution in the consciousness of our time.” While Mailer might be accused of a certain hubris, his approach to culture and life exhibited a courage to grow in opposition to what he saw as the deadening forces of totalitarianism in America.
- Come back later to the irony of it being thought by Charles Eitel, a failed Mailer hero.
- Mailer, Norman (1992) . Advertisements for Myself. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP.
- — (1957). The Deer Park. New York: New American Library.