Norman Mailer’s Letters on An American Dream, 1963–1969

From Project Mailer
(Redirected from AAD:Letters)
An American Dream Expanded Bibliography Letters Timeline Word Count Comparison Credits  
Edited by
J. Michael Lennon
Note: Copyright ©2004 by Sligo Press. 67 South Pioneer Avenue, Shavertown, PA 18708. See 04.7.[1]

From the Introduction

Until he wrote An American Dream, his most evocative and lyrical novel, Norman Mailer did not invest his major fictional characters with his deepest concerns and beliefs: a desire to grow at all costs, a distrust of pure reason, a willingness to take risks, trust in the authority of the senses, faith in courage as the cardinal virtue, fear and loathing for the incipient totalitarianism of American life and, most importantly, a belief in an heroic but limited God locked in struggle with a powerful, wily Devil, conceivably with the fate of the universe in the balance. Stephen Richards Rojack, the novel’s protagonist, has these concerns and shares Mailer’s theological beliefs. Rojack is a war hero, former congressman, college professor, talk show host, celebrity intellectual and nascent alcoholic. Preternaturally alert to omens and portents and susceptible to every premonition, he hears voices, studies the phases of the moon, and waits for either cancer or madness to strike him. His wife Deborah taunts him with her infidelities and attacks his manhood in a variety of insidious ways, driving him to a physical attack that ends with her murder. Rojack then throws her body out of the apartment window ten stories down to the pavement on the east side of Manhattan. He claims that her fall was suicide, and the brunt of the story is devoted to his attempts to convince his and her friends, the police and Deborah's father, Barney Oswald Kelly, the “solicitor for the devil,” of his innocence. Narrated in an edgy, rococo style by Rojack, the novel shows Mailer at the height of his word power as he delineates the dread-filled inner life of his embattled hero. The air of the novel is haunted, swarming with demonic and divine presences, especially in the final chapter, when Rojack confronts Kelly in his penthouse apartment in the Waldorf Towers.

The Letters

Date To Notes
September 18, 1963 Ambassador Gutierres-Olivos Sergio Gutierrez-Olivos was the Chilean ambassador to the United States, 1963–1965.
October 15, 1963 Andre Deutsch Andre Deutsch was the principal director of Andre Deutsch Limited, Mailer’s British publisher from 1959–1966.
October 15, 1963 Alan Earney Alan Earney was an editor at Transworld Publishers Limited.
October 15, 1963 Reed Whittemore Reed Whittemore, an American poet, biographer, critic, literary journalist, was the editor of Carleton Miscellany.
October 16, 1963 Eiichi Yaminishi Eiichi Yaminishi was Mailer’s longtime Japanese translator.
October 21, 1963 Willie Morris Mailer met Morris in New York after Morris became editor of Harper’s in 1963.
November 4, 1963 Andre Deutsch
November 4, 1963 Alan Earney
November 5, 1963 Adeline Lubell Naiman A college friend of Mailer’s sister Barbara, Lubell met Mailer in 1946.
November 9, 1963 Francis Irby Gwaltney Mailer served in the Army with “Fig,” a teacher, novelist and native of Arkansas.
November 26, 1963 Eiichi Yaminishi
November 26, 1963 Edmund Skellings Skellings, then a professor at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and an admirer of Mailer’s work, met Mailer at an Esquire symposium at the University of Iowa in December 1958.
November 26, 1963 David Susskind David Howard Susskind was an American producer of TV, movies, and stage plays and also a TV talk show host.
December 11, 1963 Mary Jane Shoultz Mary Jane and Ray Shoultz were acquaintances of Mailer’s.
December 15, 1963 Eiichi Yaminishi
December 17, 1963 Mickey Knox Knox, one of Mailer’s closest friends, met Mailer in Hollywood in the summer of 1949.
December 20, 1963 Francis Irby Gwaltney
December 20, 1963 Rita Halle Kleeman Kleeman was a staff member at P.E.N., the international writers organization.
January 15, 1964 Don Carpenter Carpenter was a west coast novelist who corresponded regularly with Mailer in the 1960s.
January 16, 1964 Vance Bourjaily Bourjaily, an American novelist, met Mailer in 1951.
January 17, 1964 Eiichi Yaminishi
February 11, 1964 Harvey Breit Mailer became friendly with Harvey Breit, a reporter and novelist who spent summers on Cape Cod.
February 17, 1964 Mickey Knox
February 17, 1964 Charles Schultz Schultz was an official with the New York chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences who invited Mailer to take part in a forum discussion.
February 19, 1964 Eiichi Yaminishi
March 16, 1964 Vahan Gregory Gregory was a literary acquaintance of Mailer’s.
March 17, 1964 George Lea George Lea was writer friend.
March 17, 1964 Martin Peretz Mailer met Peretz, Harvard professor and editor-in-chief of The New Republic, in the early 1960s.
April 16, 1964 Andre Deutsch
April 17, 1964 Louis and Moos Mailer Louis Mailer (his wife was Moos) was the brother of Mailer's father, Isaac Barnett “Barney” Mailer and lived in South Africa.
April 19, 1964 Mickey Knox
May 15, 1964 Francis Irby Gwaltney
June 1, 1964 Don Carpenter
June 2, 1964 Mrs. Jose Casanova Mrs. Casanova was a Mailer fan.
June 2, 1964 Mickey Knox
July 5, 1964 Diana Athill
July 6, 1964 Pete Hamill Journalist and novelist, Pete Hamill had been a friend of Mailer since they met in Chicago in 1962.
July 7, 1964 Eiichi Yaminishi
August 21, 1964 Diana Athill
September 29, 1964 Robert F. Lucid Longtime professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, Lucid was one of Mailer’s closest friends and authorized biographer until Lucid died in 2006.
October 5, 1964 Don Carpenter
November 4, 1964 Andre Deutsch
December 15, 1964 Ester Whitby Esther Whitby was a Mailer fan.
December 18, 1964 Arnold Kemp Kemp met Mailer in Bellevue Hospital where Mailer was under psychiatric observation after he stabbed Adele with a penknife on 20 September 1960.
December 18, 1964 Mickey Knox
December 18, 1964 Bill McLaughlin McLaughlin was a Mailer fan.
December 21, 1964 Virginia Mangrum Mangrum was still another Mailer fan.
January 27, 1965 Eiichi Yaminishi
February 25, 1965 Diana Athill
March 22, 1965 Richard Kluger Kluger was an editor at the literary supplement, Book Week.
March 23, 1965 Diana Athill
March 23, 1965 Alan Earney
March 25, 1965 Jason Epstein Epstein was the longtime editorial director at Random House, where he was Mailer’s editor.
March 25, 1965 Don Carpenter
March 25, 1965 Diana Trilling Trilling was a literary critic and wife of the Columbia professor and man of letters, Lionel Trilling.
April 6, 1965 Diana Trilling
April 20, 1965 Donald Kaufmann Kaufmann was a professor at the University of Alaska who became friendly with Mailer when he spoke at the University in 1965.
April 23, 1965 John W. Aldridge John W. Aldridge became friends with Mailer in 1951 shortly after Aldridge’s After the Lost Generation: A Study of Writers of Two Wars appeared earlier that year.
April 23, 1965 Moos Mailer
June 8, 1965 John W. Aldridge
June 8, 1965 John William Corrington Corrington wrote a favorable review of AAD in the Chicago Review in 1965.
June 8, 1965 Roger Shattuck Mailer met Roger Shattuck, the art critic, in Brooklyn in the 1950s.
June 8, 1965 Diana Trilling
June 12, 1965 John A. Meixner Meixner was a writer friend.
July 14, 1965 Diana Trilling
August 17, 1965 John W. Aldridge
August 26, 1965 Irving J. Weiss A literary host at a radio station in New York, Weiss sought Mailer’s involvement in a couple of literary projects.
February 28, 1966 Lionel Abel Abel was a drama professor and critic who wrote for Partisan Review and moved in the same leftist intellectual circles as Mailer.
March 24, 1966 Mann Rubin Rubin wrote the first screenplay for An American Dream.
April 16, 1966 Lonnie L. Wells Wells was a Mailer fan.
September 24, 1966 Susan Abrams Abrams was a Mailer fan.
September 24, 1966 Yale M. Udoff
September 24, 1966 Nancy Weber Weber, an American writer, interviewed Mailer in the March 1965 New York Post, one of only a few interviews he gave on the novel before it was published.
September 25, 1966 Louis and Moos Mailer
September 26, 1966 Sanford Sternlicht Sanford Sternlicht was an English professor at New York State University College at Oswego.
1969 Whit Burnett Burnett published Mailer’s story Mailer’s story “The Greatest Thing in the World” in November 1941, marking the beginning of Mailer’s literary career.


  1. In addition to what’s featured, the original volume contained a list of illustrations, an index, and four appendices: Appendix I: Norman Mailer: Key Publications, 1948-2003 (see “Norman Mailer's First Editions”); Appendix II: An American Dream: Selected Bibliography (see tabs above); Appendix III: Timeline of Events, 1962-1966 (see tabs above); and Appendix IV: An American Dream: Word Count Comparison, Esquire and Dial Versions (see tabs above). The appendices are not labeled as such in this digital edition, but all information in contained herein.