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An Interview with James Campbell
Douglas Field
and
Justin A. Joyce

James Baldwin Review editors Douglas Field and Justin A. Joyce interview author and Baldwin biographer James Campbell on the occasion of the reissue of his book Talking at the Gates (Polygon and University of California Press, 2021).

James Baldwin Review
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,

’ identity. 16 Markovits approvingly quotes Norman Mailer’s observation – made in 1984 on the hundredth anniversary of the publication of Twain’s classic – that ‘Riding the current of [ Huckleberry Finn ], we are back in that happy time when the love affair [between whites and blacks] was new and all seemed possible’. 17 This sounds a lot like Leslie Fiedler’s earlier judgement of Huck and Jim’s friendship, and Markovits surveys the contemporary literary scene for updated portrayals of this archetypal interracial ‘love affair’. He discusses Nathan and Coleman

in The politics of male friendship in contemporary American fiction
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Inherent Vice as Pynchon Lite?
Simon Malpas
and
Andrew Taylor

, reading Inherent Vice produces quite a different set of experiences. To take Conclusion 217 one example as an illustration of the stakes of this difference, the bananas which so disturbed Norman Mailer in Gravity’s Rainbow that he claimed to be unable to read more than the opening section of that novel return in Inherent Vice, but in a quite dissimilar form as the ‘frozen-banana shop near the Gordita Beach pier’, ‘Kozmik Banana’, is introduced: Kevin the owner, instead of throwing away the banana peels, was cashing in on a hippie belief of the moment by converting

in Thomas Pynchon
Power, presentation and history in Gravity’s Rainbow
Simon Malpas
and
Andrew Taylor

his masterpiece, and indeed the masterpiece of twentieth-century American literature by critics such as Tony Tanner, who declares that ‘Pynchon has created a book that is both one of the great historical novels of our time and arguably the most important literary text since Ulysses.’1 And yet, on the other, for a reader such as Norman Mailer it has proved impossible: asked in a 1980 interview by Michael Lennon how he rated Pynchon as a novelist, Mailer declared that he was either ‘a genius or vastly overrated. I’ve never been able to get through the bananas in

in Thomas Pynchon
Paolo Pitari

’ (McCaffery, 2012 : 22). In accordance with this framework, in ‘Certainly the End of Something or Other’ (1998), Wallace criticizes John Updike, Norman Mailer, and Philip Roth as ‘Great Male Narcissists’ (Wallace, 2005 : 51): pinnacles of ‘the most self-absorbed generation since Louis XIV’ (51) since their fiction expresses ‘radical self-absorption’ (53) and gives voice to the ‘anomic self-indulgence of the Me Generation’ (54). This argument too is already present in The Culture of Narcissism , where Lasch refers to ‘confessional writers’ (Lasch

in Reading David Foster Wallace between philosophy and literature
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Below the waves
Robert Duggan

Bear’ which the narrator whistles (25). The narrator is a grotesque combination of a fourteen-year-old who is also, according to McEwan ‘meant to be a sort of Henry Millerish age, a wizened sixty’ (Hamilton, 1978, 18). The sexual exploits Grotesque.indd 132 20/03/2013 09:24:32 Ian McEwan: below the waves  133 detailed by Henry Miller, Havelock Ellis (the work of whom the narrator has been reading), Norman Mailer (mentioned in the Hamilton interview) and D.H. Lawrence (Connie’s name recalling Lady Chatterley) become the grotesque and temporally perverted parody of

in The grotesque in contemporary British fiction
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Passing and writing in The White Boy Shuffle and The Human Stain
Sinéad Moynihan

Norman Mailer’s Advertisements for Myself (1959), Roth observes that ‘times are tough for a fiction writer when he takes to writing letters to his newspaper rather than those complicated, disguised letters to himself, which are stories.’ Philip Roth, ‘Writing American Fiction’, in The Novel Today: Contemporary Writers on Modern Fiction, ed. Malcolm Bradbury (London: Fontana, 1977), pp. 32–47 (p. 37). Incidentally, Mailer’s infamous essay, ‘The White Negro’, is collected in Advertisements for Myself. In his analysis of The Human Stain, Ross Posnock distinguishes

in Passing into the present
Morality, mortality and masculinity in Sabbath’s Theater
David Brauner

and Norman Mailer, would not have found anything novel, let alone revolutionary, in the novel’s sex scenes. When, in The Anatomy Lesson, Nathan Zuckerman reinvents himself as Milton Appel, a famous literary critic turned pornographer, the joke is not simply on Irving Howe (on whom Appel seems to have been partly based), but on Roth himself, a serious novelist who, in the aftermath of the succès de scandale of Portnoy’s Complaint, briefly occupied a place in the American popular imagination alongside Hugh Hefner and Larry Flynt as one of the pioneers of mainstream

in Philip Roth
Rewriting history and retreating from trauma in The Plot Against America
David Brauner

overcelebrate them, and then we tend to kill them, figuratively speaking, in part because we expect so much from them after their brilliant beginnings’ (McInerney 2005: 5). Certainly, Foer was not the first, and will not be the last, to suffer a critical backlash of this sort. Roth had seen his second and third books – Letting Go and When She Was Good – receive distinctly lukewarm reviews after Goodbye, Columbus had won the National Book Award when he was the new kid on the literary block. A decade earlier Norman Mailer had been as slated for his second novel, Barbary Shore

in Philip Roth
Carl Lavery

specific historical signifier for a universal wrong. 34 Without ever knowing what blackness is (like the off-stage revolution that is never defined), the audience is encouraged to cross the colour divide and to identify itself as black. 35 Importantly, this does not mean that the audience becomes ‘white Negroes’ à la Norman Mailer. 36 Rather, the object for the white spectator is to discover the impossible in identification and to ally herself with the Blacks’ political quest to become other than self. As The Blacks demonstrates, this is achieved by fashioning a

in The politics of Jean Genet’s late theatre