Mind of An Outlaw

Mind of An Outlaw

Selected Essays

Book - 2013
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Random House, Inc.

Norman Mailer was one of the towering figures of twentieth-century American letters and an acknowledged master of the essay. Mind of an Outlaw, the first posthumous publication from this outsize literary icon, collects Mailer’s most important and representative work in the form that many rank as his most electrifying.

As America’s foremost public intellectual, Norman Mailer was a ubiquitous presence in our national life—on the airwaves and in print—for more than sixty years. With his supple mind and pugnacious persona, he engaged society more than any other writer of his generation. The trademark Mailer swagger is much in evidence in these pages as he holds forth on culture, ideology, politics, sex, gender, and celebrity, among other topics. Here is Mailer on boxing, Mailer on Hemingway, Mailer on Marilyn Monroe, and, of course, Mailer on Mailer—the one subject that served as the beating heart of all of his nonfiction.

From his early essay “A Credo for the Living,” published in 1948, when the author was twenty-five, to his final writings in the year before his death, Mailer wrestled with the big themes of his times. He was one of the most astute cultural commentators of the postwar era, a swashbuckling intellectual provocateur who never pulled a punch and was rarely anything less than interesting. Mind of an Outlaw spans the full arc of Mailer’s evolution as a writer, including such essential pieces as his acclaimed 1957 meditation on hipsters, “The White Negro”; multiple selections from his seminal collection Advertisements for Myself; and a never-before-published essay on Sigmund Freud.

Incendiary, erudite, and unrepentantly outrageous, Norman Mailer was a dominating force on the battlefield of ideas. Featuring an incisive Introduction by Jonathan Lethem, Mind of an Outlaw forms a fascinating portrait of Mailer’s intellectual development across the span of his career as well as the preoccupations of a nation in the last half of the American century.

Praise for Mind of an Outlaw

“[Mailer’s] best and brightest.”Esquire

“The fifty essays collected in this retrospective volume span sixty-four years and show [Norman] Mailer (1923–2007) at his brawny, pugnacious, and egotistical best. . . . This provocative collection brims with insights and reflections that show why Mailer is regarded as a great literary mind of his generation.”Publishers Weekly

“The selections open a window onto the capacious mind and process of one of the most volatile intellects of the twentieth century.”Library Journal

“Vintage Mailer: brilliant, infuriating, witty and never, ever boring.”—Tampa Bay Times

“As good an introduction to Mailer’s habits of mind as there’s ever been.”Kirkus Reviews

“There’s no arguing about Mailer the essayist—he was outstanding. . . . These insightful essays educate, argue and persuade on everything from politics and literature to film, philosophy and the human condition.”Shelf Awareness

Baker & Taylor
A major collection of writings by the late Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning literary master addresses the range of subjects and themes of his career and is complemented by a previously unpublished essay on Freud.

& Taylor

A major collection of writings by the late Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning literary master addresses the range of subjects and themes of his career and is complemented by a previously unpublished essay on Freud. 20,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Random House, [2013]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780812993479
Branch Call Number: 814.54 M281m
Characteristics: xxiv, 624 pages ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Sipiora, Phillip
Lethem, Jonathan


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Feb 15, 2014

Mailer's not alive anymore, but I think "Mind of an Egotistical A**hole" would've been a more accurate title. And I guess he thinks being an outlaw is drinking too much, stabbing his wife and sponsoring a convicted murderer. Burroughs has more a claim to this title. If you haven't guessed it, I have a serious problem with Mailer, although I'll begrudgingly say that he's a better essayist than novelist and this collection, spanning from the 40s to right before his death is a decent introduction to the last of the alpha male writers. He loved boxing and he approaches writing like a boxer, seeking to pummel his audience and opponents into submission, mostly by writing way too much and putting his often arrogant, sometimes ridiculous opinions (such as he helped Kennedy get elected) over as fact. He covers a wide array of subjects, from politics to literature to the death penalty to feminism, but his great subject, indeed really his only subject, is himself, which to me is his key failing as a writer and as a thinker. Decide for yourself. Jonathan Lethem, whose prose is far more humble and delicate, wrote the introduction.


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