On the New Yorker website, Louis Menand reflects on the late Norman Mailer’s life and career. Mailer himself rarely contributed to The New Yorker, though. Until Tina Brown’s tenure, Mailer had published only two short poems in the magazine, both in 1961. There are just five bylines in all. As one of America’s most important postwar writers and a frequent object of public attention, he was far more often written about; a search on his name in The Complete New Yorker yields more than 100 hits.
Indeed, it would appear that Mailer had little interest in writing for the magazine. Perhaps he considered that a New Yorker byline would be incidental to his various projects—to remake American literature, to upend the battle of the sexes, to provide a channel whereby citizens could regain authenticity. Nevertheless, he’s enough of an icon to have served as the subject of a New Yorker cartoon—eight times. This 1997 Lee Lorenz drawing is apropos.
Mailer’s reputation doesn’t rest primarily on his novels (although I still plan to read The Naked and the Dead). Provocateur, mayoral candidate, co-founder of The Village Voice, journalist of genius, he did not squander his tenure on this planet. —Martin Schneider
Hello! I’m Emily Gordon, a content strategist, critic, and copywriter. Emdashes, born in 2004, spent its formative years as a New Yorker fan blog. (The project garnered some nice compliments and press.) It’s now a collection of conversations—generally civilized—about punctuation, magazines, movies, design, and other things that stir me.
Over the years, I’ve worked with a small army of culture writers, editors, and artists. You can read all about the people who've helped build Emdashes here at “Who We?” (That’s a New Yorker joke. Old habits die hard.)
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