Mailer, Norman: The Naked and the Dead
(researched by Robert Schoenvogel)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
Author: Mailer, Norman. Title: The Naked and the Dead. Publisher: Rinehart and Company, Inc. Place: New York. Date: 1948. Source : VIRGO Visual Examination of the Text.
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
First edition published in cloth. Source: Visual Examination of Text.
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
5 leaves, pp.3-721. Source: Visual Examination of Text.
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
No Editor. No Introduction. Source: Visual Examination of the Text.
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
One Illustration : Map, pg. 2. Illustrator: Philip Cameron Wright. Source: Visual Examination of the Text.
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
The physical presentation of the text is clear and uncluttered. The line spacing is good, and the typography is dark, in a serif style, and easily readable. The overall quality of the printing appears to be excellent. The front cover is striking, colored in red, white, and black. The back cover presents a picture of the author and a short biography. The general effect of the dust jacket is attractive and enticing. Source: Visual Examination of the Text.
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
The paper quality of the first edition is generally good. The paper is not flimsy, and the pages turn well under the hand. There has been a substantial amount of discoloration over the years, and the pages have an overall yellow quality. Source: Visual Examination of Text.
11 Description of binding(s)
Black paper-covered boards. Stitched pages. Spine Title Transcription: The | Naked | and | the | Dead | Rinehart. Source : Visual Examination of the Text
12 Transcription of title page
The Naked and the Dead | [line] | Norman Mailer | [line] | Rinehart and Company, Inc. New York 7 Toronto Source: Visual Examination of Text.
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
Final manuscript in the collection of the Yale University Library. Source : Robert Lucid Introduction to: Adams, Laura. Norman Mailer : A Comprehensive Bibiliography. Metuchen, N.J.: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1974
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
Advanced copies of first edition issued in wrappers. Source: VIRGO Visual Examination of advanced copy of first edition
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
1. 1948 - Book Club Edition - Rinehart and Co. 2. 1961 - Holt, Rinehart, and Winston Edition ( Rinehart and Co. merged in 1960) 3. 1968 - Holt, Rinehart, and Winston Edition 4. 1970 - Holt, Rinehart, and Winston Edition 5. 1981 - Holt, Rinehart, and Winston First Owl Book Edition Published in Paper New Cover, New Back Cover, New Spine Title Owl Insignia on the Title Page 721 pg. Typography is good and easily readable Paper Quality is not very good. Already a bit faded See JPEG images below for images of this edition.
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
23 hard-cover printings as of 1981
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
1. 1948 - The Modern Library 2. 1948 - Henry Holt and Co. 3. 1948 - Random 4. 1948 - Grosset and Dunlap 5. 1949 - New American Library : Signet Books 6. 1949 - Collectorís Book Club 7. 1949 - Andre Deutsh 8. 1949 - Allen Wingate 9. 1951 - New American Library : Signet Books 10. 1952 - Allen Wingate 11. 1954 - New American Library 12. 1964 - Grafton 13. 1964 - New American Library 14. 1964 - Panther Books 15. 1976 - Henry Holt and Co. 16. 1977 - Panther Books 17. 1979 - Franklin Library 18. 1980 - Henry Holt and Co. 19. 1981 - Harcourt Brace College Publishers 20. 1988 - Henry Holt and Co. 21. 1990 - Henry Holt and Co. 22. 1992 - Paladin 23. 1993 - Flamingo 24. 1993 - First Edition Library 25. 1994 - Buccaneer Books, Inc.
6 Last date in print?
Book is still in print under Buccaneer Books and Henry Holt and Co.
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
As of 1981, 250,000 copies sold in hard-cover 3,000,000 copies sold in paperback More recent, accurate results are pending a letter to the publisher.
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
1948 - 137, 185 copies sold 60,000 copies sold through the Book Find Club More recent, accurate results are pending a letter to the publisher.
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
1948 - Ads placed in the New York Times : May 2 - September 5 Ads were very innovative for their time. They consisted of a series of small squares with references to the novel but no mention of the author. See the JPEG image listed below.
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
A21019980220033028.jpg
11 Other promotion
1. Publisherís Weekly. Vol. 155. January 22, 1949, p.27
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
1. Movie - 1958 The Naked and the Dead Produced by : RKO Run time : 131 min Directed by : Raoul Walsh Screenplay : Norman Mailer Denis Sanders Terry Sanders 2. Videocassette - 1970 The Naked and the Dead Distributed by : Video Communications Inc. VHS, color, 131 min. 3. Audio Recording - 1976 The Naked and the Dead Read by : Donald Pease Publisher : Everett/ Edwards Series: Twentieth Century American Novel Cassette Curriculum 4. Audio Recording - 1983 The Naked and the Dead Read by: Norman Mailer Publisher: Caedmon 5. Videocassette - 1986 The Naked and the Dead Distributor: United Home Video Run time: 131 min. Series: Classics
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
1. Publisher: Kaizo Sha Place: Tokyo Date: 1949 2. Publisher: Garzanti Place: Cernusco sul Naviglo, Italy Date: 1950 3. Publisher: Editions Albin Michel Place: Paris Date: 1950 4. Publisher: Heinemann Place: The Hague Date: 1952 5. Publisher: Non Stop-Buchere Place: Berlin-Grunewald Date: 1952 6. Publisher: Zora Place: Zagreb Date: 1955 7. Publisher: Bertelsmann Lesering Place: ? Date: 1959? 8. Publisher: Ediciones 62 Place: Barcelona Date: 1965 9. Publisher: Bokforlaget Aldus / Bonnierre Place: Stockholm Date: 1965 10. Publisher: Edito-Service Place: Geneva Date: 1973 11. Publisher: Garzanti Place: Milano Date: 1973 12. Publisher: Voen. izd-vo Ministerstva oborory USSR Place: Moscow Date: 1976 13. Publisher: Circulo de Lectores Place: Bogota Date: 1976 14. Publisher: Slovensky Spisovatel Place: Bratislava Date: 1982 15. Publisher: Odeon Place: Praha Date: 1986 16. Publisher: Rinsen Books Place: Kyoto Date: 1986`
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
N/A
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
N/A
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
Norman Kingsley Mailer was born on January 31, 1923, in Long Branch, New Jersey. A United States citizen by birth, he was the son of Isaac B. Mailer and Fanny Schneider Mailer. After living in New Jersey for a few years, the Mailer family moved to Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn in 1927. Norman graduated from Boys' High School in 1939 and went on to earn a degree in Engineering Science from Harvard in 1943. Upon graduation, Norman married his first wife Beatrice Silverman and was soon inducted into the Army in 1944. Returning from the war, he concentrated on writing and published his first book, The Naked and the Dead, in 1948 at the age of 25. This was the beginning of a long literary career which continues today. After The Naked and the Dead, Norman Mailer published such novels as Barbary Shore(1951), The Deer Park(1955), and Advertisements for Myself(1959). He also helped to create The Village Voice in the 1950's. Although he published consistently through the 1960's, Mailer achieved an important milestone when he received the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for his novel The Armies of the Night(1968). He also acquired Scott Meredith as his agent in this period. During the 1970's, he published less recognized novels and essays, including a biography of Marilyn Monroe entitled Marilyn(1973). Mailer's next big publishing success came with his novel The Executioner's Song(1979). This work, about the execution of Gary Gilmore in Utah, also received the Pulitzer Prize. In the 1980's, Mailer published both Ancient Evenings(1983) and Tough Guys Don't Dance(1984). His most recent work is Harlot's Ghost, published in 1991. Besides publishing novels, Norman Mailer has written numerous essays and magazine articles, run for the mayor of New York City, and has directed several films. Besides pursuing his long and diverse professional career, Mr. Mailer has also led an interesting and varied personal life. As mentioned above, he married his first wife, Beatrice, in 1944. The pair divorced in 1952 after having one child in 1949. A short time later, Mailer married Adele Morales in 1954. He had two children with Adele, but the relationship was sometimes violent. Mailer stabbed Adele with a knife in 1960, and they divorced in 1962. Later that same year, he married the Lady Jean Campbell and his fourth child was born. The next year, in 1963, Norman divorced Campbell and married his fourth wife Beverly Bently. They had two children, but they separated in 1970. During the 1970's Norman engaged in many relationships and had more children, but he did not divorce Beverly and did not remarry. Mailer had his seventh child with Carol Stevens in 1971, and later, in 1978, he had his eighth child with a woman named Norris Church. Beverly finally sued for divorce in 1978. In 1980, Mailer married Carol Stevens, quickly divorced her, and then promptly married Norris Church. Explaining his actions, Mailer claimed it was important that all eight of his children be legitimate(Rollyson 302). Norman Mailer currently resides in a Brooklyn Heights apartment and has had no more wives or children. Most of Norman Mailer's papers, manuscripts, letters, and notebooks are stored in a Manhatten archive under the direction of Robert F. Lucid, Mailer's official biographer. The final manuscript for The Naked and the Dead resides at the Yale University Library.
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead received a great amount of attention when it was first published in 1948. The initial critical reception was, for the most part, very positive. Critics from the New York Times to the Library Journal praised the novel as an incisive, realistic, and informative fictional account of the brutality and horror of war. C.J. Rolo, writing for Atlantic, even goes so far as to claim that Mailer's first novel was "by far the most impressive piece of fiction to date about Americans in the Second World War." This same basic claim, that The Naked and the Dead was one of the first truly important novels about World War II, can be found in the reviews of the majority of contemporary critics. There is high praise for Mailer's faithfulness to the psychological and physical realism of men in combat. This is not to say contemporary reviews found the book without faults. Raymond Rosenthal, in Commentary, writes that "a word should be said about Mailer's style: it is terrible." Many reviewers, agreeing with Rosenthal, critique the novel's excessive length, wordiness, and repetitiousness. Besides the criticisms listed above, the main critique of The Naked and the Dead in many articles is Mailer's frequent use of graphic and obscene language. Although he substitutes the word "fug" for its obvious counterpart, Mailer meticulously includes in the book the profane jargon of soldiers at war. This stylistic device, which some critics found brave and effective, drew strong rebukes from others. An article from the June 4, 1949, edition of Publishers' Weekly mentions an editorial in the London Sunday Times which asserts that "no decent man could leave it lying about the house, or know without shame that his womenfolk were reading it." The same editorial also calls for the novel to be immediately withdrawn from publication. Interestingly, while The Naked and the Dead did not get banned in England, it was indeed banned in Canada and Australia. Despite criticism about its language, length, and sometimes boring narrative style, The Naked and the Dead was almost universally recognized as an extremely significant novel about World War II. Immediately after its publication, the twenty-five year old Norman Mailer was raised by critics to the status of an important American author. In addition to being critically acclaimed, there is evidence that the Mailer's novel also became a part of mainstream American culture. In a Survey Graphic article from 1948, Martha Foley notes that characters from the book "have been named in gossip columns and in talk among writers and publishers." This widespread, positive, contemporary reception of The Naked and the Dead distinguished it from the plethora of other war novels and helped to seal Norman Mailers reputation as an author. For a list of contemporary reviews and articles, see Supplementary Materials.
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead received a great amount of attention when it was first published in 1948. The initial critical reception was, for the most part, very positive. Critics from the New York Times to the Library Journal praised the novel as an incisive, realistic, and informative fictional account of the brutality and horror of war. C.J. Rolo, writing for Atlantic, even goes so far as to claim that Mailer's first novel was "by far the most impressive piece of fiction to date about Americans in the Second World War." This same basic claim, that The Naked and the Dead was one of the first truly important novels about World War II, can be found in the reviews of the majority of contemporary critics. There is high praise for Mailer's faithfulness to the psychological and physical realism of men in combat. This is not to say contemporary reviews found the book without faults. Raymond Rosenthal, in Commentary, writes that "a word should be said about Mailer's style: it is terrible." Many reviewers, agreeing with Rosenthal, critique the novel's excessive length, wordiness, and repetitiousness. Besides the criticisms listed above, the main critique of The Naked and the Dead in many articles is Mailer's frequent use of graphic and obscene language. Although he substitutes the word "fug" for its obvious counterpart, Mailer meticulously includes in the book the profane jargon of soldiers at war. This stylistic device, which some critics found brave and effective, drew strong rebukes from others. An article from the June 4, 1949, edition of Publishers' Weekly mentions an editorial in the London Sunday Times which asserts that "no decent man could leave it lying about the house, or know without shame that his womenfolk were reading it." The same editorial also calls for the novel to be immediately withdrawn from publication. Interestingly, while The Naked and the Dead did not get banned in England, it was indeed banned in Canada and Australia. Despite criticism about its language, length, and sometimes boring narrative style, The Naked and the Dead was almost universally recognized as an extremely significant novel about World War II. Immediately after its publication, the twenty-five year old Norman Mailer was raised by critics to the status of an important American author. In addition to being critically acclaimed, there is evidence that the Mailer's novel also became a part of mainstream American culture. In a Survey Graphic article from 1948, Martha Foley notes that characters from the book "have been named in gossip columns and in talk among writers and publishers." This widespread, positive, contemporary reception of The Naked and the Dead distinguished it from the plethora of other war novels and helped to seal Norman Mailers reputation as an author. For a list of contemporary reviews and articles, see Supplementary Materials.
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
Norman Mailer's first novel, The Naked and the Dead, was published almost fifty years ago to the month at the time of this essay. Many best sellers generate a flurry of excitement at their initial publication, but then drop quickly from the literary scene. The Naked and the Dead, however, was not only a best seller in the year of its publication, but also has consistently received positive critical acclaim and maintained popular interest up to the present day. It is recognized as one of the truly outstanding fictional books about World War II, and people still read and enjoy it today. This type of sustained success for a twentieth-century best seller is significant, and this paper is an attempt to explain why the book has been so successful. By looking at different aspects of the book, its author, and its place in the literary world, I hope to show how many different factors have contributed to the continued success and popularity of Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead. The first, and perhaps most important, ingredient to the success of the novel is that it is a very well-written book. At its publication in 1948, reviews of the work came out in magazines and journals across the country. Magazines like The New Yorker, Time, and Publishers' Weekly all ran reviews of Norman Mailer's first novel. For the most part, the critical reviews of The Naked and the Dead were highly complimentary. The reviewers praised the book's high degree of realism, intense psychological emphasis, and faithful depiction of the horror and ugliness of modern war. Writing for Atlantic magazine in June of 1948, C.J. Rolo boldly describes the novel as "by far the most impressive piece of fiction to date about Americans in the Second World War." Other reviewers use phrases like "ruthlessly honest" and "cool and effortless narrative style." After about 1950, these frequent, highly complimentary reviews of The Naked and the Dead appeared more and more sporadically. Nevertheless, the novel maintained a good reputation in both the public and scholarly spheres. While reviews of the book in the popular press became less frequent, scholarly critiques and essays about the novel grew in number. All this attention and high praise contributed substantially to the popularity and success of the novel at its initial publication and over the subsequent years. Readers enjoy a well-written story about a subject of interest, and they often take their cues about books from professional critics. The positive reviews of The Naked and the Dead in most major magazines greatly fostered the popularity of the novel by alerting the reading public to its merits and significance. Along with the favorable reviews, Norman Mailer's first novel also greatly benefited from an innovative ad campaign implemented by Rinehart and Company, Mailer's publisher at the time. Before the book was even published, the publisher placed weekly ads in the New York Times Book Review. These ads were visually graphic and eye-catching, showing a frazzled soldier with bullet holes and jagged lines all around him. In each ad, a few lines would describe a certain character from the book and inform the reader of the publication date. Interestingly, Mailer did not approve of these ads at all. In Peter Manso's book, Mailer: His Life and Times, it is reported that the young author was "infuriated by the prepub ads," and that he resented the "pandering"(113). He felt that they would turn off "classy readers." Nevertheless, others in the publishing industry believed that the ads would help generate interest and diminish the effects of an extremely high selling price of four dollars. Most other books at the time were selling for $2.95(118). Fortunately, the ad campaign was a success, and it did generate excitement and demand for the novel. The Naked and the Dead rocketed to the top of the best-seller list within weeks of its publication. The aggressive ad campaign highlights another feature which contributed to the novel's great success in 1948. Norman Mailer was an unknown quantity prior to the publication of The Naked and the Dead. In all the reviews, much emphasis is put on the fact that Mailer is a new literary talent. As David Dempsey writes in the New York Times, the publication of Mailer's novel "bears witness to a new and significant talent among American novelists." On the back cover of the first edition, there is a large picture of Mailer accompanied by a short biography. It is almost as if the publisher is introducing the author to the public, trying to convince them of his qualifications. This focus on the emerging literary talent of Norman Mailer almost surely contributed to the success of the novel. The public would read the book in order to determine whether the new kid on the block, a Harvard graduate and war veteran, was really as good as the reviews claimed. Norman Mailer's topic for his first novel, a battle for an island in the Pacific during World War II, stemmed directly from his own experience in the Army. By writing about war and its effects on men, Mailer intelligently took advantage of contemporary events and tapped into a societal need for information and details about the war. The book 80 Years of Best Sellers 1895-1975 names Mailer's effort as "the first outstanding postwar novel about World War II. Published in 1948, The Naked and the Dead came just three years after the end of World War II. This quick publishing made it one of the first serious books of fiction to come out after the war, and the public was hungry for non-propagandized knowledge about the war and its stark realities. This hunger translated into a high volume of book sales, as most people could find someone to relate to among the multitude of characters in the book. By reading the book, the public could experience the raw emotions associated with standing guard during rainy nights, marching through humid jungles, and being scared of whizzing bullets. The gritty style Mailer uses throughout the book allowed readers to easily access the harsh psychological realities of war. The publication of The Naked and the Dead so soon after the war filled a need in society, and this deft timing helped boost the popularity in the novel. The above assertion that Mailer's novel was successful due in part to its conjunction with World War II can be strengthened by looking at the best seller list of 1948. The list bears out the contention that readers in 1948 were interested in the war, and that they were buying books which dealt with war in some way or another. On the fiction list, the number ten book is Irwin Shaw's The Young Lions. This novel, while not as highly acclaimed as Mailer's book, did receive attention and sold about 80,000 copies in 1948. The Naked and the Dead sold about 150,000 in the same time period. It is significant that two fiction books dealing with the war made it onto the best seller list in the same year. It explicitly shows that the public had a desire to know more about the Second World War. This point can be seen even more clearly by examining the list of non-fiction bestsellers. Three of the top ten non-fiction bestsellers for 1948 were personal memoirs of the war. These included Dwight D. Eisenhower's Crusade in Europe(#1), Winston Churchill's The Gathering Storm(#7), and Robert Sherwood's book entitled Roosevelt and Hopkins(#8). These books provide firsthand accounts of the war, and they sold very well. General Eisenhower's memoir even outsold Mailer's book, with a total of 239,265 copies sold during the year. It makes sense that readers interested in non-fiction books about the war might also purchase Mailer's fictional account. Besides the obvious connection between The Naked and the Dead and non-fiction accounts of the war, other types of non-fiction best sellers also provide interesting clues to the popularity of Mailer's work. There were four books on the non-fiction bestseller list in 1948 which dealt with psychology or sexuality. Books like A Guide to Confident Living and the famous Kinsey report entitled Sexual Behavior of the Human Male sold in large numbers. People were extremely interested in the aspects of life revolving around sexuality and psychology. It is no coincidence that Mailer's novel includes large doses of sex and the examination of sexuality in the lives of the soldiers. Critic David Dempsey even refers to the novel as "virtually a Kinsey Report on the sexual behavior of the GI." The heavy psychological and sexual emphasis of The Naked and the Dead helped to make it popular for a postwar society very interested in human behavior. So far in this essay, I have spent a great deal of time focusing on why this particular book was so popular at the time of its publication in 1948. The novel was an immediate success and stayed on the best seller lists for a period of about six months. By 1949, however, Norman Mailer's first novel no longer showed up on the top ten list. This fact begs the question of how the popularity of The Naked and the Dead has held up over the subsequent decades. The answer to this inquiry is fairly clear. As of 1981, Norman Mailer's war novel had sold 250,000 copies in hardback and about 3,000,000 copies in paperback. It has been published in numerous editions by a wide variety of publishers, and it has been translated into many foreign languages. Two companies, Buccaneer Books and Henry Holt and Co., still have the novel in print as of 1994. In 1958, ten years after its first publication, The Naked and the Dead was still popular enough to be produced as a movie, albeit a largely ignored movie. An audio version of the book has been produced, as well as a version in videocassette format. All of these statistics, from total copies sold to performances in other media, point to the conclusion that The Naked and the Dead did not disappear from the scene six months after its publication. Rather, it has maintained a steady popularity up to the present. The reasons for such steady, sustained popularity are various and wide-ranging. One of the foremost reasons, however, is the continued interest of American in topics related to war. A novel about the United States at war, The Naked and the Dead often explores such topics as individualism versus determinism, the emergence of American fascism, and the quest for meaning in life. These questions, central to the critical success of the novel, appear again and again in American public life in the decades following World War II. They receive sustained attention because the U.S. continued to engage in military conflicts in far corners of the world. In the 1950's, American soldiers fought in the Korean War, and the 1960's and 70's were scarred by U.S. participation in the Vietnam War. Both of these military operations occurred in Asian countries, and both provided an opportunity for America to evaluate her role in the world. It is no accident that The Naked and the Dead, a novel about war against an Asian country, maintained a certain popularity and relevance in light of Korea and Vietnam. Even the most recent affair with Iraq generated a great deal of discussion of American military participation in foreign affairs. Although these wars did not cause The Naked and the Dead to climb back up the best seller list again, they forced readers to continue asking the same questions explored in Mailer's novel. This continued relevance of war-related issues was a key aspect of the steady sales and consistent popularity of the novel. In addition to the rather obvious historical reasons for the sustained success of Mailer's first novel, there are some slightly more subtle reasons for its popularity over the years. One of the biggest criticisms of The Naked and the Dead at the time of its initial publication was Mailer's frequent use of obscene army dialogue. New York Times critic Orville Prescott writes that Mailer "has wallowed in a grotesque and excessive fidelity to the coarseness of their language." The obscenity issue even caused the book to be banned in Canada and Australia. Ironically, all the negative attention about the novel's profane language may have boosted its long term popularity. By being banned, the novel immediately assumed an air of mystery and forbidden pleasure. Some readers undoubtedly bought the book just to experience the shocking narrative. However, as the use of obscenity became more and more acceptable in the literary world, Mailer's use of the word "fug" in The Naked and the Dead no longer appeared controversial. In fact, the realistic dialogue and obscene sexual banter probably kept later generations of adolescent readers engaged in the novel. In this sense, Mailer's gritty style was ahead of his time. I mentioned earlier in the essay that Mailer's public persona as a new, unknown author benefited the early popularity of the novel. In a surprising shift, the novel's later popularity has benefited from Mailer's now established, well-known place in American literature. In the decades since the publication of The Naked and the Dead, Mailer has become one of the most prominent and public American authors. Having written novels in every decade since the 40's, Mailer has also engaged in politics, edited The Village Voice, and cultivated a family full of numerous and divorced wives. His outspoken manner and prolific writings have made Mailer a fixture on the literary scene. The sustained visibility of Norman Mailer as a personality and as an author only benefits his early novels like The Naked and the Dead. If Mailer had disappeared from the literary scene after a decade or so, his novels might have been forgotten or ignored. Norman Mailer's long literary career, which continues up to the present day, keeps him and his novels a matter of public interest. I hope this essay has shown why Norman Mailer's World War II novel, The Naked and the Dead, became a bestseller in the first place, and why its reputation has held up over the fifty years since its initial publication. Unlike many other American bestsellers of the twentieth century, Mailer's novel is a work of quality literature which received both popular and critical acclaim. This double praise is a sometimes rare occurrence among the ranks of American bestsellers, and it speaks to the most fundamental ingredient of the novel's lasting success. At bottom, The Naked and the Dead is simply a fascinating, well-told story.
Supplemental Material
Subsequent Reception: Articles Book World, 11 (March 29, 1981), p. 12. Changing Times, 35 (November 1981), p.25. School Library Journal. 27 (November 1980), p. 39. New Left Review, 222 (March-April, 1997), p. 115. Books Burg, David F. "The Hero of The Naked and the Dead." Modern Fiction Studies, 17 (Autumn, 1971), 387-401. Coan, Otis and Richard G. Lillard. America in Fiction, 5th ed. Palo Alto, California: Pacific Books, 1967, p. 126. Eisinger, Chester. Fiction of the Forties. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1963, pp. 33-38, 93-94. Enkvist, Nils Erik. "Re-readings: Norman Mailer, The Naked and the Dead." Moderna Sprak, 56 (1962), 60-64. Frederick, John T. "Fiction of the Second World War." College English 17 (January, 1956), 197-204. Gordon, Andrew. "The Naked and the Dead: The Triumph of Impotence." Literature and Psychology, 19 (1969), 3-13. Kahm, Lothar. "The Jewish Soldier in Modern Fiction." American Judaism, 9 (1960), 12-13, 30-31. Lutwack, Leonard. Heroic Fiction: The Epic Tradition and American Novels of the Twentieth Century. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1971. Walmeir, Joseph J. American Novels of the Second World War. The Hague: Mouton, 1969, pp. 15-152. Waldron, Randall H. "The Naked, the Dead, and the Machine: A New Look at Norman Mailer's First Novel." PMLA (March 1972), 271-77. For a complete bibliography up to 1974, see: Adams, Laura. Norman Mailer: A Comprehensive Bibliography. Metuchen, N.J.: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1974.
Contemporary Reception: 1948 Dedman, Emmett. Chicago Sun, May 9, 1948, p. 8. Dempsey, David. New York Times, May 9, 1948. Farrelly, John. "Fiction Parade." New Republic, May 17, 1948, p. 32. Foley, Martha. Survey Graphic, 37 (December, 1948), 499. Humboldt, Charles. Masses and Mainstream, August, 1948, p. 70. Kalem, Theodore. Christian Science Monitor, September 19, 1948, p.11. Lardner, John. "Pacific Battle, Good and Big." New Yorker, May 15, 1948. Match, Richard. "Souls of Men Stripped by Battle and Boredom." New York Herald Tribune Book Review, May 9, 1948, p.3. "Men in War." Newsweek, May 10, 1948, pp.86-87. Prescott, Orville. New York Times, May 7, 1948, p. 21. December 20, 1948, p.23. Prescott, Orville. "Outstanding Novels." Yale Review, 37 (Summer 1948), 765. Rolo, Charles J. "Reader's Choice." Atlantic, June, 1948, p. 114. Rosenthal, Raymond. Commentary, July, 1948, p. 92. "Rugged Times." New Yorker, October 23, 1948. Squires, Russell. San Francisco Chronicle, May 23, 1948, p. 21. "War and No Peace." Time, May 10, 1948, pp. 106-109. Wasson, Donald. Library Journal, 73 (May 1, 1948), 707. Wolfert, Ira. "War Novelist." Nation, 166 (June 6, 1948), 722. Wood, G.L. Canadian Forum, July, 1948, p. 93. Kirkus, 16 (March 1, 1948), 126. 1949 Geismar, Maxwell. "Nightmare on Anopopei." Saturday Review, Jan. 8, 1949, p. 10-11. "No British Action against Naked and the Dead. Publishers' Weekly, 155(June 4, 1949), 2300. Publishers' Weekly, 155 (January 22, 1949), 270. Smith, Harrison. Saturday Review, February 12, 1949, p. 9. 1950 Maurois, Andre. "La Guerre, Jugee par un Romancier Americain." Nouvelles Litteraires, August 27, 1950, p. 5.
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