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Advertisements for Myself Hardcover – 14 May 1970


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd; New impression edition (14 May 1970)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 058602381X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0586023815
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 996,857 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Anyone with a serious interest in American and in twentieth-century literature will applaud the reprinting of Norman Mailer's Advertisements for Myself. No single work of his, before or since, is as important to an understanding of his literary career or of his emergence as an authentic public personality, and none is as fully representative of the range and variety of his concerns. -- Richard Poirier Rutgers University This is a wonderful exercise in American autobiography, and in that self-mocking, self-glorifying, cynical, naive, outrageous, intelligent, uniquely his own and uniquely American autobiographical voice of which Mailer is the modern master. -- Wendy Lesser Threepenny Review --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

'I started as a generous but very spoiled boy, and I seem to have turned into a slightly punch-drunk and very ugly club fighter who can fight clean and fight dirty, but likes to fight. I have not gotten nicer as I have grown older…'

An essential guide to the life and work of one of America's most controversial writers, 'Advertisements for Myself' is a comprehensive collection of the best of Norman Mailer's essays, stories, interviews and journalism from the Forties and Fifties, linked by anarchic and riotous autobiographical commentary. Laying bare the heart of a witty, belligerent and vigorous writer, this manifesto of Mailer's key beliefs contains pieces on his war experiences in the Philippines (the basis for his famous first novel 'The Naked and the Dead'), tributes to fellow novelists William Styron, Saul Bellow, Truman Capote and Gore Vidal and magnificent polemics against pornography, advertising, drugs and politics. Also included is his notorious exposition of the phenomenon of the 'White Negro', the Beat Generation's existentialist hero whose life, like Mailer's is 'an uncharted journey into the rebellious imperatives of the self'.

Confirming Mailer's reputation as one of the best essayists in America, 'Advertisements for Myself' is an unflinching and marvellously immodest self-portrait of an extraordinary man whose literary ambition is no less than to bring about 'a revolution in the consciousness of our time'.

"Mailer is a genuine original, working against the grain of the rest of his contemporaries."
NEW STATESMAN

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 July 1998
Format: Paperback
Writing in the New York Times Book Review, James Shapiro, professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University, says, "The passage of time has dimmed the reputation of 'The Naked and the Dead,' but time has also cleared the way to a finer appreciation of what to my mind is one of the most daring works of the postwar years, 'Advertisements for Myself' (1959), required reading for any aspiring novelist." He goes on to say, parenthetically, "The sad fact that it is currently in print only because Harvard University Press picked up the lapsed rights says a lot about the state of contemporary trade publishing."
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic, grotesque, extraordinary book. 17 Mar. 2002
By Augustus Caesar, Ph.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Originally appearing in 1959, "Advertisements for Myself" remains one of the most unusual books ever published by a novelist. Containing stories, essays, reviews, interviews, novel excerpts and poems, all with detailed, italicized annotations courtesy of the author, this book displays a massive, raging talent assessing itself and the world around it. It is sometimes poignant, sometimes maddening, but never less than compelling. I love this book.
Today, Mailer's reputation is rather up in the air. To me, his career is an example of an artist constantly pushing himself, writing with breathtaking ambition even if it exceeded his skill. There has never been another writer like Norman Mailer, and it is touching to read here of his desire to write a novel on the level of Dostoyevsky, Mann and Tolstoy, and to read his pithy, sometimes hilarious assessments of his contemporaries. His commentary on the ups and downs of his career and his disgust and sadness about the decline of American literature are illuminating, but his self-aggrandizement and egocentricity are often difficult to stomach. However, one has to stand in awe at the monument of his talent and his passion.
Reading this book today, one has to ask, "Did he fulfill his expectations?" I think so. "Harlot's Ghost," "Ancient Evenings," "The Executioner's Song" and numerous other works, both fiction and nonfiction, will endure, in my opinion. But I, for one, would like to know whatever happened to the self-promoted masterpiece of a novel he excerpts here. The small sections make for very stimulating reading.
All in all, "Advertisements for Myself" is a required text for everyone who loves great literature or aspires to write it for themselves.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
"Required reading for any aspiring novelist." 28 July 1998
By Brad Green bradgreen@webtv.net - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Writing in the New York Times Book Review, James Shapiro, professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University, says, "The passage of time has dimmed the reputation of 'The Naked and the Dead,' but time has also cleared the way to a finer appreciation of what to my mind is one of the most daring works of the postwar years, 'Advertisements for Myself' (1959), required reading for any aspiring novelist." He goes on to say, parenthetically, "The sad fact that it is currently in print only because Harvard University Press picked up the lapsed rights says a lot about the state of contemporary trade publishing."
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating book, nothing quite like it 21 April 2004
By AJ - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This was one of the strangest and most engaging fictional works I have ever read. An autobiographical narrative consisting of novel excerpts, social commentary, reviews and short stories. Brutally honest and at times hilarious, I find myself regularly rereading many parts of the book and I'm always stunned by ,above all else, Mailer's humor and the vivid and unforgettable stories and characterers that he creates.
One reviewer remarked that Mailer's reputation in somewhat up in the air. Certainly Over the years Mailer has suffered much harsh criticism, from charges that he is misogynist to claims that he never fulfilled his own potential.
Nonetheless, Ancient Evenings and this book are his best works and I'm sure they will survive the test of time.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Interesting, Terrible, Strange 1 Mar. 2012
By Steiner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mailer's memoir is sui generis- it is an unbelievably arrogant exercise in self-creation. Although Mailer complicates the relation of the work to the creator through an eclectic compilation of self-portraits, self-criticisms, and self-praise, this is still a deeply troublesome book. Mailer's self-aggrandizements probably did more harm than good, though it was clearly inherent in the psychology of his creativity. What emerges here is an interesting portrait of the self-creation of a writer-and writers who are interested in problems of method and strategy should read it, because Mailer makes you believe you can produce magic through developing the proper disposition. An esoteric work, with a wide variety of writing.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Chaotic, Thought-Provoking and a Good Laugh 11 Jan. 2014
By Hans Pfaall - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Mailer enthusiastically and fearlessly tackles the wide variety of ruminations that go on in a writer's head throughout the creative process - motivation, fear of failure, self-promotion, fame, commercial success, critical success, "hip vs. square" and not losing one's rebellious edge, all while critiquing on and providing samples of his own work. Mailer's energy is self-evident, and he's often his own toughest critic.

Attempting to seriously assess one's own talent in comparison to others is natural for anyone who strives to be the best at what they do. These thoughts often remain in the realm of low-key discussion with trusted companions, personal journal entries, or "internal monologue." What's atypical is that Mailer decided to publish these thoughts.

Mailer's approach seemed to be "everybody's thinking it, so why not do it?" This adage applies to the book's chosen title, as well as Mailer's "quick and expensive" assessments of his contemporaries. Anyone who has ever aspired to create art at the highest level will find much to appreciate here. Let's face it, great artists (and those who aspire for greatness) often run the risk of coming across as egocentric at best, irrelevant at worst. Mailer was unapologetic, had no shame in his approach to the subject, and quite a lot of humor.

In several places, Mailer pokes fun at his own ego, referring to himself as a "megalomaniac." The description of his thought process behind writing a bizarre letter to Hemingway (for self-promotion reasons) was worth the price of admission alone. From the early days of the Village Voice, he publishes some incredibly scathing critiques other writers gave (of Mailer) which are amusing in their own right. There's Mailer's perspective on various tit-for-tat feuds he experienced, the most entertaining involving William Faulkner.

Also of note, Mailer's essay "The White Negro" appears in its entirety, along with various complimentary pieces. The title is un-PC in the 2000's, but don't be fooled - it's thought-provoking and ahead of its time.
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