Eiichi Yaminishi, October 16, 1963

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NORMAN MAILER’s Letters
142 Columbia Heights
Brooklyn 1, New York
October 16, 1963

Dear Eiichi,[1]

This is just a quick note, for as always I have much too much mail to answer. There should be copies of the book[2] in another two weeks, and I’ve left instructions at Putnam’s that they are to send out one of the very first copies they receive from the printer to you. If I’d realized it was going to take this long I would have sent you the galleys, but believe me, Eiichi, the book was not attractive in galleys and I preferred for you to wait until you saw the finished version.

As for a note on the second Patterson-Liston fight, I fear that I cannot satisfy you in this because if I started to say one word I would end with close to a hundred thousand words.[3] In fact, I’m thinking of incorporating the second fight into a short novel (80,000 words) that I’m going to write in serial by installments of 10,000 words a month for Esquire.[4] I’ve been working on this novel for the last month and have just finished the first installment.[5] As soon as there are galleys, I’ll send them to you. This is most definitely not the big novel, but I hope it will be a good one. Perhaps it will be interesting for some large Japanese magazine to publish the installments month by month. I took on the book because I was in need of money to finance the larger book, and by one of those curiosities of American publishing, I ended up receiving a fantastic advance royalty. I’m almost ashamed to tell you what a capitalist this makes me, but they will pay $125,000 for the hard cover and paperback rights in America. I mention the size of this figure because it may help you to get a greater price from any Japanese magazine interested in publishing it, and that of course would be of benefit to us both. I would like just once that you make some money as well, for the arduous work of translating.

This is dictated in a great rush, for the burden of writing ten thousand good finished words a month in a novel to which I cannot return takes up so much time that I cannot afford the leisure for time now of a quiet correspondence. So please, as ever, accept my warmest good wishes for you and your family.

Norman

P.S. That figure I named is of course not being paid by Esquire, but by the publisher, Dial Press, and by the paperback company, Dell. If you wish a note added to “Ten Thousand Words A Minute,” perhaps it might be a good idea to insert it yourself, just saying that I’m working on a novel which may include the second Patterson-Liston fight.

P.P.S. I never took the opportunity to thank you for the list you provided me, but it was most entertaining and interesting to read, and I sent a copy to my publisher.

This page is part of
An American Dream Expanded.

Notes

  1. Mailer never met Eiichi Yaminishi, his longtime Japanese translator.
  2. The Presidential Papers was published on 8 November 1963.
  3. PP contains his account of the first heavyweight boxing match between Floyd Patterson and Sonny Liston on 25 September 1962, titled “Ten Thousand Words a Minute,” first published in Esquire in February 1963.
  4. Mailer did not incorporate an account of the second fight into An American Dream (the “short novel”), but the fact that he was considering doing so shows how open-ended his plan was at this point. He did, however, use portions of an essay tracing his cross-country trip with Beverly Bentley in the summer of 1963, including his stop in Las Vegas for the fight, in the novel’s epilogue.
  5. Mailer submitted each installment two months before Esquire’s publication date (two weeks earlier than the month on the cover), except for the last three, all of which were late. The final installment was about ten days late.