An American Dream Expanded/Timeline of Events, 1962–1966

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Year Date Event
1962 January 30 NM’s first volume of poems, Deaths for the Ladies (and Other Disasters), is published by Putnam’s.
Late March   NM divorces his second wife, Adele Morales, in Juarez, Mexico.
April   NM marries Lady Jean Campbell and they move into his apartment at 142 Columbia Heights in Brooklyn.
Mid-August   NM submits the first (of 14) columns, titled “The Big Bite,” for publication in the November Esquire.
August   18 NM’s third daughter, Kate, born to Jean Campbell.
September   22 NM debates William F. Buckley, Jr. on “The Role of the Right Wing” before an audience of 4,000 in Chicago.
September   25 NM covers the heavyweight prizefight between Floyd Patterson and Sonny Liston in Chicago.
October-November   Cuban Missile Crisis. The Soviet Union removes missile sites from Cuba after the U.S. threatens a military attack.
Late fall   NM separates from Jean Campbell.
December   NM publishes the first of six columns of reflections on Martin Buber’s Tales of the Hasidim in Commentary.
December   20 “An Open Letter to JFK from Norman Mailer” appears in the Village Voice.
1963 January-February   Playboy publishes in two parts the NM-Buckley debate.
February   “Ten Thousand Words a Minute,” NM’s account of the first Patterson-Liston fight, is published in Esquire.
March   NM meets Beverly Bentley.
March   24 NM speaks on existentialism and psychoanalysis at Harvard.
May   31 NM presents “An Existential Evening” at Carnegie Hall, discussing the FBI, President Kennedy and Communism with the audience.
Summer   “The First Presidential Paper,” NM’s essay on heroes and leaders, is published in Dissent.
July-August   NM and Beverly drive cross-country and back, stopping in Arkansas, Las Vegas (where they see Liston defeat Patterson for the second time), San Francisco and Georgia.
August  28 Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Washington Monument during the Civil Rights March on the Capital.
Late Summer   Scott Meredith becomes NM’s literary agent and helps broker the sale of an unwritten novel to Dial Press and Dell Books. NM proposes and Esquire editor Harold Hayes agrees to the serial publication of this novel in the magazine, January through August 1964.
September   29 NM’s review of Victor Lasky’s J.F.K.: The Man and the Myth appears in Book Week (N.Y. Herald Tribune).
Mid-October   NM turns in the first of eight installments of the novel to Esquire.
November   8 Putnam’s publishes The Presidential Papers, a collection of assorted prose focused on J.F.K.
Mid-November   The December Esquire containing NM’s final “Big Bite” column is published. NM announces in it that he will write a novel called An American Dream, in eight installments, beginning in the January 1964 issue.
November   22 President Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas. Vice President Johnson is sworn in as President.
November   27 NM begins working on the third installment.
Mid-December   The January issue of Esquire containing the first installment appears.
November   16 After obtaining a Mexican divorce from Jean Campbell, NM marries Beverly Bentley in New York.
December   26 NM contributes to a New York Review of Books symposium on J.F.K.
1964 Mid-January   The fourth installment of the novel is completed.
Late January   NM debates William F. Buckley, Jr. in New York on a taped television program.
January   29 American premiere of “Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”.
February   3 The Beatles arrive in America.
February   11 The fifth installment is completed.
February   25 NM is in the audience in Miami when Muhammad Ali defeats Sonny Liston for the heavyweight championship.
March   17 Beverly gives birth to Michael Burks Mailer, NM’s first son, at about the same time that he completes the sixth installment.
April   20 The seventh installment is completed.
Late May   Warner Brothers buys an option on the film rights to An American Dream.
Early June   The final long installment of the novel is completed. The Mailers go to Provincetown where NM will revise the Esquire version for book publication.
July   2 President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act against discrimination.
Mid-July   NM break off work on the revision to the novel to cover the Republican Convention in San Francisco. His account, “In the Red Light,” appears in the November Esquire.
August   7 The U.S. Congress passes the Tonk Gulf Resolution in authorizing the President to use military force in Vietnam.
September   The Free Speech movement begins at the University of California at Berkeley.
October   12 An advertisement for An American Dream in book form appears in Publishers’ Weekly and gives a January 1965 publication date.
November   3 Johnson elected President.
December   20 Working on the Dial Press galleys, NM completes a second revision of the novel.
1965 Early January   NM testifies on behalf of William Burroughs’s novel, Naked Lunch, at its Boston obscenity trial.
January   27 NM writes to his Japanese translator that Warner Brothers has purchased the film rights to the novel. It sells for $200,000.
February   21 Malcolm X is assassinated.
March   U.S. troops arrive in force in Vietnam, escalating the War.
March   14 Tom Wolfe’s negative review of the novel appears in Book Week (Washington Post).
March   15 Official publication date of An American Dream by Dial Press.
March   19 “The Big Comeback of Norman Mailer,” a positive review by John W. Aldridge, appears in Life. NM pays to reprint the heart of the review in the spring number of Partisan Review to “accompany” Elizabeth Hardwick’s negative review.
March   27 The novel rises to number four on the bestseller list of the Chicago Daily News.
April   1 NM travels to Alaska for a four-day visit, speaking at the University of Alaska. He uses his impressions for his 1967 novel, Why Are We in Vietnam?
April   11 The novel rises to number eight on the bestseller list of the New York Times Book Review.
April   20 NM arrives in London to promote the British edition of An American Dream, published by Andre Deutsch on 26 April.
May   21 NM speaks out against the Vietnam War at the Berkeley campus of the University of California.
July   15 NM speaks at a Harvard teach-in against the Vietnam War.
Late July   NM travels to Puerto Rico for the Jose Torres-Tom McNeeley prizefight and meets with Muhammad Ali.
August   6 Voting Right Act of 1965 signed into law by President Johnson.
August   11 Race riots break out in Watts, Los Angeles.
Fall   NM contributes to a Partisan Review symposium, “On Vietnam.”
September   24 Brock Brower’s biographical article on NM appears in Life.
September   29 National Endowment for the Arts signed into law by President Johnson.
Late December   NM addresses the Modern Language Association meeting in Chicago on the American novel. His talk is published in the March 1966 issue of Commentary.
1966 March   The Dell paperback edition of An American Dream is published.
March   10 NM’s second son, Stephen McLeod Mailer, is born to Beverly.
June   NM purchases a house at 565 Commercial Street in Provincetown.
August   The first stage version of NM’s 1955 novel, The Deer Park, with Beverly Bentley as Lulu Meyers, is presented at Act IV, a Provincetown theater.
August   26 The film version of An American Dream premiers.
August   28 NM’s review of Mark Lane’s Rush to Judgment, an analysis of the Warren Commission Report on J.F.K.’s assassination, appears in Book Week (Washington Post).
August   29 Dial Press publishes Cannibals and Christians, NM’s third volume of collected prose and poetry.
October   29 National Organization for Women established.
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An American Dream Expanded.