Lionel Abel, February 28, 1966

From Project Mailer
142 Columbia Heights
Brooklyn 1, New York
February 28, 1966

Dear Lionel,[1]

Yes, it is possible my mind has gone somewhat bad over the years. Yet, in consolation, my memory for titles remains intact. The American Dream, as you call it, seems actually to be An American Dream. (I was thinking you see of An American Tragedy.)[2] But, if you cannot read even the first word of my book, then it occurs to me your brain if still ready, is either unwilling or unable, dear Lionel—


cc: Irving Howe, Stanley Plastrick, Emanuel Geltman[4]


  1. Lionel Abel was a drama professor and critic who wrote for Partisan Review and moved in the same leftist intellectual circles as Mailer.
  2. An American Tragedy was written by Theodore Dreiser, one of Mailer’s literary heroes. He saw An American Dream as a modern extension of Dreiser’s novel and very consciously chose his title to echo it.
  3. Abel referred to Mailer in a Partisan Review essay as “Mindbad the Mailer.”
  4. Mailer was on the Board of the leftist journal Dissent with Stanley Plastrick, Emanuel Geltman and Irving Howe, who was its editor.