Lipton’s Journal/December 31, 1954/132

From Project Mailer

Seriously, truly, just simply, doesn’t the great dancer wish to dance in the nude, and don’t we wish to see him or her that way? Doesn’t the great actor or actress wish finally to act before an audience the fuck itself, and indeed the great actor or actress always gives a sense of the fuck. (Marlon Brando, Tallulah Bankhead, Laurette Taylor.)[1] Doesn’t the great painter wish to convey the outside and then the inside of the act. Renaissance fabrics and textures and landscapes and nudes, and our modern non-objective art which is concerned with the variations of the soul in the act. Doesn’t the great novelist always seek for ways to communicate his amazing knowledge of the sexual act?

But, now look, society prevents all these expressions in everything but the most degraded form. We are only allowed strip-teasers for the dance, whores for the circus act, cheap drawings for the art, cheap pornography for the literature. Only in perversion is the sexual and creative soul of man allowed to express itself.


  1. Three major actors who Mailer admired and saw act on Broadway: Brando (1924-2004) in A Streetcar Named Desire; Bankhead (1902-68) in The Little Foxes; and Taylor (1883-1946) in The Glass Menagerie. NM met Brando during the year, 1949-50, he spent in Hollywood trying to write screenplays. He reviewed one of Brando’s finest films, Last Tango in Paris, in the New York Review of Books (May 17, 1973), rpt. in Pieces and Pontifications.