Lipton’s Journal/February 7, 1955/468

From Project Mailer

The art of the playwright is to create types so finely drawn that they are begging for actors to fill their insides. For years I said actors were people without selves in search of Selfs. But the truth is that actors are pure being, pure me’s looking for I’s (that is, types), which to express the passive flowing nature of their sensitivity. Which is why as I continue to write, my characters become more and more elaborated types (my successful characters like Munshin,[1] Teppis,[2] Lulu,[3] and earlier Guinevere[4] and Hollingsworth)[5] and I am drawn more and more to the theatre. But, also, I begin to act more and more. My inner sensitivity, my H, demands that I express much I cannot say by entering into others, others who we always see as types. I can imitate Adele[6] less and less, create her personality less and less in writing because she is not a type to me, she is a Being, and to create a Being in a book requires genius, whereas to create or limn a type requires merely talent. I have so far to go as a novelist. Yet, the pleasure of my books is that through my types one feels the beating of hearts, the being of hearts.


  1. In The Deer Park, Carlyle “Collie” Munshin, the son-in-law of Herman Teppis, the head of Supreme Studios, is the unscrupulous producer best known for pirating the scripts of others.
  2. Herman Teppis, the head of Supreme Studios in The Deer Park, is an unscrupulous movie producer who manipulates actors for his own benefit.
  3. Lulu Meyers, a Hollywood actress in The Deer Park who was once married to Charles Eitel, aspires to be the most popular actress in America and has an affair with Sergius O’Shaugnessey through most of the novel.
  4. Beverly Guinevere McLeod, wife of William McLeod, runs the Brooklyn boarding house that is the setting of Barbary Shore. One of Mailer’s finest comic characters.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.