Lipton’s Journal/February 22, 1955/679

From Project Mailer

Chess. The dramatization of the “umbilical” conflict: Man vs. Society. White is man using his er as sup-attack. Black is society using er as sup-defense. A way to check this chess thought is to study the style of chess champions. I would guess that a master player who does better playing black (relatively) than white has the capacity and the talent to construct his most beautiful attacks out of positions of defense. What characterizes him is a surface “wildness”—again relatively, and underneath a deep social sense. The er so to speak is the surface, the sup is concealed beneath. People like Gandy Brodie,[1] myself, Chandler Brossard, Adele.[2]

The “white” champion is comparatively calm but er-imaginative. His energy does into logical progressive attacks, but his “genius” is in sudden brilliant defenses. People like Rhoda,[3] Dan,[4] my sister, Bob Lindner,[5] and many others.


  1. Known for sensuous figural paintings with paint applied in thick layers, Gandy Brodie (1925–1965) visited Mailer in Mexico several times in the 1950s.
  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. Lifelong friend of Mailer’s sister Barbara, Rhoda Lazare (b. 1926) was introduced to her husband, Daniel Wolf, by Mailer.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.