Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Mailer Rides Again

Norman Mailer, once a veritable king of New York, is on the cover of this week's New York magazine.

Inside the mag is an excerpt from his just-published book On God: An Uncommon Conversation, a collection of dialogues with his friend and literary executor, Michael Lennon, conducted over the course of three years.

It's a rather rambling exegesis of his own brand of religion, which incorporates elements of JudeoChristian theology, Eastern thought and a few other odds and ends. God, it seems, has been remade in the image of man, a man who's an artist, afflicted with human foibles and not certain to win out in the battle against the dark side.

"Earlier this year, at a Writers Bloc event in Beverly Hills, Norman Mailer acknowledged that he believed in God," David Ulin wrote, in a review of the book published in the L.A. Times. "This belief, he explained, was qualified; his vision of the deity was as one who is fallible, far from omnipotent, less a supreme being than a supreme artist of a kind."

I think I'll stick with Mailer's superb fiction (An American Dream) and creative non-fiction (Armies of the Night).

The new Mailer Review, based at the University of South Florida English Department and edited by longtime USF prof Phillip Sipiora, is celebrated in a nicely written feature in Tuesday's St. Petersburg Times. The journal, one of the only devoted to a living author, is a collaboration with the Norman Mailer Society, of which Sipiora is a founding member.

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