lundi 27 août 2012

Norman Mailer, "The Notebook", ADVERTISEMENTS FOR MYSELF, New York, Putnam, 1959, 493 pages.

"Why are you angry? Is it because you feel I didn't pay enough attention to you tonight? I'm sorry if I didn't. I didn't realize I didn't. I do love you."
"Oh, you love me; oh, you certainly do," the young lady said in a voice so heavy with sarcasm that she was almost weeping. "Perhaps I'd like to think so, but I know better." Her figure leaned toward his as they walked. "There's one thing I will tell you," she went on bitterly. "You hurt people more than the cruelest person in the world could. And why? I'll tell you why. It's because you never feel anything and you make believe that you do." She could see he was not listening, and she asked in exasperation, "What are you thinking about now?"
"Nothing. I'm listening to you, and I wish you weren't so upset."
Actually the writer had become quite uneasy. He had just thought of an idea to put into his notebook, and it made him anxious to think that if he did not remove his notebook from his vest pocket and jot down the thought, he was likely to forget it. He tried repeating the idea to himself several times to fix it in his memory, but this procedure was never certain.
"I'm upset," the young lady said. "Of course, I'm upset. Only a mummy isn't upset, only a mummy can always be reasonable and polite because they don't feel anything." If they had not been walking so quickly she would have stamped her foot. "What are you thinking about?"
"It's not important," he said. He was thinking that if he removed the notebook from his pocket, and held it in the palm of his hand, he might be able to scribble in it while they walked. Perhaps she would not notice.

p. 141 

Norman Mailer, "The Man Who Studied Yoga", ADVERTISEMENTS FOR MYSELF, New York, Putnam, 1959, 493 pages.

But then he thinks of the novel he wants to write, and he is wide-awake again. Like the sleeping pill which fails to work and leaves one warped in an exaggeration of the ills which sought the drug, Sam passes through the promise of sex-emptied sleep, and is left with nervous loins, swollen jealousy of an act ten years dead, and sweating irritable resentment of the woman's body which hinders his limbs. He has wasted the day, he tells himself, he has wasted the day as he has wasted so many days of his life, and tomorrow in the office he will be no more than his ten fingers typing plot and words for Bramba the Venusian and Lee-Lee Deeds, Hllywood Star, while that huge work with which he has cheated himself, holding it before him as a covenant of his worth, that enormous novel which would lift him at a bound from the impasse in which he stiffles, whose dozens of [p. 172] characters would develop a vision of life in bountiful complexity, lies foundered, rotting on a beach of purposeless effort. Notes here, pages there, it sprawls through a formless wreck of incidental ideas and half-epîsodes, utterly withour shape. He has not even a hero for it.

p. 171-172.

Norman Mailer, "The Man Who Studied Yoga", ADVERTISEMENTS FOR MYSELF, New York, Putnam, 1959, 493 pages.

Marvin asks Sam if he has given up on his novel, and Sam says, "Temporarily." He cannot find a form, he explains. He does not want to write a realistic novel, because reality is no longer realistic. "I don't know what it is," says Sam. "To tell you the truth, I think I'm kidding myself. I'll never finish this book. I just like to entertain the idea. I'll do someting good someday."

p. 167 

Norman Mailer, "The Man Who Studied Yoga", ADVERTISEMENTS FOR MYSELF, New York, Putnam, 1959, 493 pages.

Sam, in his heart, thinks himself a rebel, and there are few rebels who do not claim an original mind.

p. 157

Norman Mailer, "The Man Who Studied Yoga", ADVERTISEMENTS FOR MYSELF, New York, Putnam, 1959, 493 pages.

May I state that I do not dislike Sam Slovoda; it is just that I am disappointed in him. He has tried too many things and never with a whole heart. He has wanted to be a serious novelist and now he merely indulges the ambition; he wished to be of consequence in the world, and has ended, temporarily perhaps, as an overworked writer of continuity for comic magazines.

p. 146

Norman Mailer, BARBARY SHORE, New York, Vintage, 1997, [1951], 312 pages.

Her mouth curled again. "You can't love anybody, Mikey, for you're Narcissus, and the closer you come to the water the more you adore yourself until your nose touches, and then you're alone again."
I did not want to believe this. "It's true," I said, "but it's... it's not true. It's not all true."

p. 154

Norman Mailer, BARBARY SHORE, New York, Vintage, 1997, [1951], 312 pages.

I shook my head. "It's hopeless."
"The period of revolutions is past, eh?" he asked. "To attempt to continue is merely catering to a myth?"
"I suppose so." The fog had thinned sufficiently for us to discern the darker bulk of skyscrapers against the night.
"And so you accept what you have here."
"I don't accept. I just recognize that we'll have no better. At least one's allowed a corner in which to write a book."
"For the moment."
"For the moment," I admitted.
"Of course the condition which allows you to write a book rests upon the continued exploitation of three quarters of the world, and the livind standard of a worker here depends on the Chinks and the black man missing a meal."
"It's no use," I said again.

p. 124

Norman Mailer, BARBARY SHORE, New York, Vintage, 1997, [1951], 312 pages.

Guinevere poured me another cup of coffee. "Someone was telling me you're an anthor, Lovett," she said.
"He was mistaken."
She passed this by. "You know I been thinking there's a way you and me could make a lot of money," she said. "I got a story that's worth a million bucks."
"Well, then why don't you write it?"
"I can't. I can't write. I haven't got the patience. But here's my idea. I'll tell you the story, you write it, and we'll split the money. I swear. When I think of the hundreds of thousands of dollars thi book is worth, and it's all in my head."
She was not to be halted.

p. 61

Norman Mailer, BARBARY SHORE, New York, Vintage, 1997, [1951], 312 pages.

When I came back to the room, I picked up my novel, and on an impulse reread everything I had written. I intended a large ambitious work about an immense institution never defined more exactly than that, and about the people who wandered through it. The book had a hero and a heroine, but they never met while they were in the institution. It was only when they escaped, each of them in separate ways and by separate methods, that they were capable of love and so could discover each other.
I had never stated it so baldly before, and as I put the novel down, the story seemed absurd and I was abysmally dejected.

p. 58

Norman Mailer, BARBARY SHORE, New York, Vintage, 1997, [1951], 312 pages.

It was a big house and gave the impression of being an empty house. Downstairs there were ten names arranged in ten brackets next tom as many bells which did not ring, but a week could bo by and I would pass no one upon the stairs. I hardly cared. In the last months I had come to know fewer and fewer people, and by the time I quit the dormitory, for better or for worse I was very much alone. At first this did not matter. I began my novel, and for a few days, completely isolated, I made progress. Since I could assume that a sixable portion of my life had been spent in one barracks or another, a room for myself was more than a luxury. Temporarily I felt free and rather happy.

p. 19

Norman Mailer, BARBARY SHORE, New York, Vintage, 1997, [1951], 312 pages.

The poorest strain in his [Dinsmore] writing had been the kind of superficial optimism prevalent during the war, which still lasted posthumously among the many playwrights and novelists whose lack of political sophistication was satisfied by dividing all phenomena into Dinsmore's categories.

p. 9-10

Norman Mailer, BARBARY SHORE, New York, Vintage, 1997, [1951], 312 pages.

I was driven with the ambition that I should be a writer, and I was grubbing quite appropriately for a grubstake. My project was to save five hundred dollars and then find an inexpensive room: calculated virually to the penny, I found that if the rent were less than five dollars a week, I would have enough money to live for six months and I could write my novel or at least begin it.

p. 7-8

Krzysztof Andrzejcak, THE WRITER IN THE WRITING: AUTHOR AS HERO IN POSTWAR AMERICAN FICTION, Lodz, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Lódzkiego, 1996, 170 pages.

In the past, American writer-heroes assumed an idealistic stance toward their craft, ostentatiously scorning popularity and wealth. Novels featuring writers by Howells, James, Norris, London and Farrell, to cite a few notable examples, condemned writing for the market place and renounces celebrity - the perceived threat to artistic integrity. Some spoke contemptuously of those who catered to popular tastes. James held it as a solemn truth that writers who whorshipped "the idols of the market" did so at the cost of their integrity and their art, and were likely to stray "the way dishonor lies." Frank Norris saw the writer's independence as his greatest achievement. Like other naturalists, he believed in Zola's creed that the writer, being the priest of "the high lesson of reality," should not be influenced or sponsored. More recently, James T. Farrell, though aware that a writer cannot control the social environment of literature and is often forced to become an artistic martyr, still claimed that whoever lets "a chance literary agent, a chance Hollywood producer, a chance publisher to violate his artistic honor with a fat contract," turns himself into "a wretched hack."

(p. 135)

Krzysztof Andrzejcak, THE WRITER IN THE WRITING: AUTHOR AS HERO IN POSTWAR AMERICAN FICTION, Lodz, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Lódzkiego, 1996, 170 pages.

Characteristically, the writer-heroes of the past two decades, while declaring themselves repulsed by the deterioration of life in the United States, show an amasing aptitude to adjust to its manifest evils and conflicts. Their castigations of corruption, falsehood and intrigue provide an opportunity to explore the labyrinths of the postmodern psyche. They do not act so much as adversaries of the American order, but as more or less serious impersonators or manipulators of its deviant possibilities. They are not dissenters, but utlilizers and exploiters of dissension.

(p. 108)

Krzysztof Andrzejcak, THE WRITER IN THE WRITING: AUTHOR AS HERO IN POSTWAR AMERICAN FICTION, Lodz, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Lódzkiego, 1996, 170 pages.

Solutions are rarely suggested, ideologies remain irrelevant. The approach is anecdotal rather than analytical, individual rather than representational, emotional rather than objective. Expressed frequently in a neurotic or exhibitionistic manner, defiance is finally a pose, a consciously flaunted and perversely audacious gesture of disobedience and anger.

(p. 101)

Krzysztof Andrzejcak, THE WRITER IN THE WRITING: AUTHOR AS HERO IN POSTWAR AMERICAN FICTION, Lodz, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Lódzkiego, 1996, 170 pages.

These outbursts of uncontrolled anger reveal a deep-rooted resentment not only of what America has become but also of the writer's own sense of complicity.

(p. 99)

Krzysztof Andrzejcak, THE WRITER IN THE WRITING: AUTHOR AS HERO IN POSTWAR AMERICAN FICTION, Lodz, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Lódzkiego, 1996, 170 pages.

The American writer has long been signalling, in personal notes and in fictional versions of his own life, that furtive, immobilizing forces of the community, the administrative system, or political atitudes intrude when he embarks on serious work, that he ends up isolated, exposed to frustration and artistic paralysis. In the "Custom-House" Hawthorne recalls that while a state employee he was overtaken by a "wretched numbness," a kind of intellectual "torpor," which threatened (but actually stimulated) his artistic growth. Melville's frustration over his loss of popular and critical acclaim after the publication of Moby Dick translated itself into a withdrawal of public life and a bitterly pessimistic vision of a writer in Pierre. But such discontent, patiently communicated within a literary means that was ultimately complicit with the culture it attempted to expose, is insignificant, merely a ripple, when compared with the mental estrangement and rage that occur in American fictions about writers - especially those of the 1970s and the 1980s.

(p. 98)   

Krzysztof Andrzejcak, THE WRITER IN THE WRITING: AUTHOR AS HERO IN POSTWAR AMERICAN FICTION, Lodz, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Lódzkiego, 1996, 170 pages.

Yet, Isadora reveals a sense of chronic vulnerability and guilt. Her dependence on men and faith in traditional values lead to intermittent urges to abandon art, to return to conventional female roles. She sees her life as a string of disappointments and indicates that a female writer is always suspended between a need to subordinate herself and to hurdle society's barriers, between wanting to be uniquely feminine and having to live a male concept of the artist, a role that, she is intelligent enough to realize, no longer exists.

(p. 97)

Krzysztof Andrzejcak, THE WRITER IN THE WRITING: AUTHOR AS HERO IN POSTWAR AMERICAN FICTION, Lodz, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Lódzkiego, 1996, 170 pages.

Andre Parent [the protagonist of Paul Theroux's My Secret History] follows the self-justified macho tradition so emphatically written into American fiction by writers like Ernest Hemingway, Henry Miller, or Norman Mailer, the tradition of constructing crude pseudo-philosophical defenses against women, of treating them coldly, with a sense of detachment and reduced emotions, of seeing them as useful sex objects, or sycophantic admirers, but never as companions in creativity. [...]
Indeed, in the postwar novel the woman is no longer seen as muse.

(p. 93)

Krzysztof Andrzejcak, THE WRITER IN THE WRITING: AUTHOR AS HERO IN POSTWAR AMERICAN FICTION, Lodz, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Lódzkiego, 1996, 170 pages.

They oscillate between the celebration of the creative self and self-mocking inquiry, between acting as manipulators of life and falling victim to their own imagination, between aiming, however ironically, at moral seriousness and mocking value systems.

(p. 71)

Krzysztof Andrzejcak, THE WRITER IN THE WRITING: AUTHOR AS HERO IN POSTWAR AMERICAN FICTION, Lodz, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Lódzkiego, 1996, 170 pages.

In Mulligan Stew (1979), a novel that is a spectacularly self-conscious, ingenious and rich example of writing about writing, characters are angered when they realize they are part of a "grossly vulgar life" created for them by one Tony Lamont, an avant-garde novelist.

(p. 57)

Krzysztof Andrzejcak, THE WRITER IN THE WRITING: AUTHOR AS HERO IN POSTWAR AMERICAN FICTION, Lodz, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Lódzkiego, 1996, 170 pages.

The author-hero has always been, by the very nature of the role he plays in the text, in conflict with the world in which he lives, or describes.

(p. 56)

Krzysztof Andrzejcak, THE WRITER IN THE WRITING: AUTHOR AS HERO IN POSTWAR AMERICAN FICTION, Lodz, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Lódzkiego, 1996, 170 pages.

The 1960s is the time of superpower confrontations and political assassinations, of waging an unpopular war, of campus conflicts and racial tensions. American writers react to these developments. They denounce the government and the military, criticize the country's moral and cultural decadence, blame the media (especially television), for deceiving and numbing their audience. Tradition, history and culture in general are described as fictive, fraudulently shaped by debased language and self-serving, often discredited ideology. Consequently, radical experimentation occurs within the medium of fiction itself. The novel's conventional meaning and form are renounced as irrelevant, exhausted or dead. Writers attempt to renew the novel partly by parody and pastiche, by employing radical irony, self-consciousness and reflexivity, by blending high art and popular culture. Their major subject is now often the act of creation itself as well as the application of it to the redefining of traditional perception, history or morality.

(p. 41)

Krzysztof Andrzejcak, THE WRITER IN THE WRITING: AUTHOR AS HERO IN POSTWAR AMERICAN FICTION, Lodz, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Lódzkiego, 1996, 170 pages.

Though accusatory, heroes are frequently inspired, or energized, by moral corruption, violence, terrorism or conspiracy.

(p. 13)

Krzysztof Andrzejcak, THE WRITER IN THE WRITING: AUTHOR AS HERO IN POSTWAR AMERICAN FICTION, Lodz, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Lódzkiego, 1996, 170 pages.

They claim, for example, they are unable to create, yet come forward with successful works. They deplore cultural depravity and deterioration, yet they are inspired by them. They complain there is no appreciative audience, yet long for and often gain market success. They distort images of themselves for the purpose of thwarting reader expectations, then they say exposure is painful.

(p. 11)