Andre Deutsch, November 4, 1963

From Project Mailer
Jump to navigation Jump to search
NORMAN MAILER’s Letters
142 Columbia Heights
Brooklyn 1, New York
November 4, 1963


Dear Andre,[1]

This is just a note to say that we must not have any trouble or misunderstanding between us. Scott Meredith is a top money agent, and can get advances like nobody else I’ve ever known in the literary world, but some of his methods I suppose can seem fairly strong-arm if one is on the receiving end, so I’m writing this to tell you that all final decisions on everything are still being made by Cy [Rembar] and me. As you may remember my telling you once in Cy’s office just before we got together again, I had a bad conscience toward you about Barbary Shore and have no desire to get into that again.[2] So look, Andre, and straight: I wish as a working rule of procedure that you will assume things are going well between us unless you hear directly to the contrary from Cy or me. If our silences are sometimes long, it is because the variety of work one is engaged in creates the delay. The last letter I wrote to you must have been in my mind for a month, but I was desperately at work on the first installment and did not want to take the chance of breaking a writing day by starting it with a letter. By the time I was done for the day I usually felt too drained to dictate something coherent. The delay which took on, under the circumstances, a large significance to you really had none for me.

As for the advances you’ve paid already on the long novel, what do you want to do about them? Would you like them returned? Or should they be applied to whatever arrangement we’ve made for The Presidential Papers, or what? Any course is agreeable to me except one. I do not want to be owing you this sum for the next year or two.

A friend of mine named Jean Levy—she is married to Julian Levy, a Surrealist gallery owner—wants to do a Moroccan cookbook. She’s got a Moroccan woman working for her who must have been one of the finest Moroccan cooks in America—I can certify this, having been their weekend guest. So naturally I told her of your extraordinary list, and promised that I would write to you and ask if you’re interested in such a venture. Jean used to work in advertising and I’m certain can write well enough to do a good introduction. And present the recipes in an agreeable fashion.

I’m writing to Corgi today to tell them that of course they’re welcome to do the Dial-Dell book (now titled An American Dream) if they can outbid Mayflower.[3]

Glad Diana’s book is doing so well. I look forward to receiving it.

Two copies of The Presidential Papers should be on their way to you this week.

I don’t know what’s up with Mrs. Timson, since I’ve been out of touch with all those people for quite a while. A telegram might get her to reply.

Jeanne (my ward) is now Mrs. Paul Krassner, 318 East 18th Street, New York City.[4] I finally got around to buying her a wedding present: two marmosets, with which we’re all pleased.

Everything else is fine.

Best to everyone,
Norman
This page is part of
An American Dream Expanded.

Notes

  1. The explanation of the relationship of Scott Meredith, Cy Rembar and Mailer provided in this letter is a response to the anxiety Deutsch conveyed in a 24 October letter about Meredith’s methods and Mailer’s two weeks of silence.
  2. Barbary Shore (1951) was Mailer’s second novel.
  3. The parenthetical reference to the title of the Esquire novel is one of the first in a letter. He mentions it again in the next letter to Alan Earney.
  4. Mailer met Jeanne Johnson when he was in Bellevue; he introduced her to Paul Krassner, editor of The Realist.