Lipton’s Journal/December 31, 1954/138

From Project Mailer

My ambition remains my contact with the world, and perhaps it is not all bad—I would certainly prefer to be a genius than a saint. That is why Bob[1] is right about the petty Hitler in me. I have to do it all, all by myself—only with Adele[2] and Bob and Dan[3] (and Malaquais[4] and Devlin[5] if only they could come around), can I see a collaboration of love. With the others, I am competitive. Every bit of evidence I see, as in television, of hipsterism makes me worry, “My God, somebody may do it before I do it.” No fear of me becoming a saint.


  1. A prominent Baltimore psychoanalyst and writer, Robert Lindner (1914 – 1956) became acquainted with Mailer after reading Lindner’s 1952 sharp critique of current psychoanalytic practice, Prescription for Rebellion (1952), published by Mailer’s publisher, Rinehart. The letter, which contained both praise and criticism for Lindner’s ideas, led to a close friendship over the next four years, including many visits and the sharing of work, including Lipton’s. See extended note on entry 56.
  2. Adele Morales (1925 – 2015), who he married in April 1954, was Mailer’s second wife. The mother of his daughters Danielle (b. 1957), and Elizabeth Anne (b. 1959), she separated from Mailer in early 1961 a few months after he stabbed her with a penknife, just missing her heart. He pled guilty to felonious assault and was given a suspended sentence. They divorced in 1962.
  3. A close friend of Mailer’s in the 1950s, Daniel Wolf (1915 – 1996), the co-founder of the Village Voice, introduced Mailer to his second wife, Adele Morales.
  4. A Polish Jew (real name Vladimir Malacki) whose parents perished in the Holocaust, Jean Malaquais (1909-98) was a veteran of the Spanish Civil War. Mailer has often said that Malaquais influenced him intellectually more than anyone else. They met in Paris in 1947 and became close friends a year later when Malaquais was translating The Naked and the Dead into French. Malaquais and his first wife Galy lived with the Mailers when they spent a year in Hollywood, 1949-50. During their time together, Malaquais, who wrote several novels, informally tutored Mailer on leftist thought and the history of the Russian Revolution. See Mailer’s “My Friend, Jean Malaquais,” an introduction to Malaquais’s 1954 novel, The Joker, rpt., Pieces and Pontifications.
  5. An impecunious leftist writer who lived in the rooming house at 20 Remsen Street in Brooklyn where Mailer had a studio and wrote the bulk of The Naked and the Dead (1948). Mailer was grateful for his help in editing Naked and said so in the novel’s acknowledgments. Their letters often contained insults, but their friendship persisted. Devlin was the physical model for McLeod in Barbary Shore (1951).