Lipton’s Journal/December 31, 1954/158

From Project Mailer

What courage Adele[1] has. She is as scared as I am, but she has faith in me. She knows I have to go this way, that I have to push to the end, that it is the basic expression of my character, and I tried to hide it in [Sam] Croft,[2] and in [Leroy] Hollingsworth[3] and Lannie [Madison][4] and [William] McLeod,[5] and in [Mickey] Lovett[6] and Sergius,[7] and finally in Marion Faye,[8] and because I didn’t succeed in hiding it, and have now discovered myself, I have to go on and make the attempt to be a genius, although all the odds are against that for any one person no matter how brave, no matter how talented. At least I have the conviction of my talent, but Adele has not yet found the conviction of her talent—which I’ve come to believe she truly has—and so she has nothing to sustain her but her magnificent love for me.


  1. 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.
  2. The fearless, sadistic platoon sergeant who contrives the death of Lieutenant William Hearn in The Naked and the Dead.
  3. The F.B.I. agent who interrogates the ex-Stalinist William McLeod in a Brooklyn rooming house, the setting for Mailer’s second novel, Barbary Shore.
  4. A deranged young woman of leftist leanings who interacts with the cast of characters in Barbary Shore.
  5. A former communist “hangman” who renounces Stalinism, and preaches a variant of Trotskyism in Barbary Shore.
  6. The amnesiac war veteran and the narrator of the Barbary Shore who carries McLeod’s political message into the future.
  7. The narrator of The Deer Park, Sergius is veteran U.S. Air Force pilot who flew combat missions in Korea. After his discharge, he settles in Desert D’Or, where he has an affair with movie star Lulu Meyers.
  8. NM’s anti-hero for a post-Hiroshima world in The Deer Park, Faye (son of Dorothea O’Faye, a former singer who presides over a drunken salon in Desert D’Or), NM’s name for Palm Springs, California), is the archetypal hipster. A bisexual pimp and drug dealer, he is the novel’s dark conscience, the polar opposite of Charles Eitel.