Mailer had a bad time working, and not working, in Hollywood.
They then divorced, and he married again, briefly; he had another child and found that, as the father of four children, his “weekly nut is fantastic.” To pay his bills and theirs, began taking on journalistic assignments for magazines.
Mailer planned to run for Mayor of New York in 1961 (but didn’t get around to it until 1969).
It’s as if, apart from the times and the action, he couldn’t bear to contemplate the mereness of his daily life.
public intellectual, to redefine the very notion in order to dispel the technocratic detachment and academic idealism in favor of his existential engagement with the moment, a blend of a journalist’s physical and first-hand involvement and risk, a novelist’s imagination, and the Rousseau-like confession of wins and losses in the public arena.
He sought to cultivate his image, giving a performance at Carnegie Hall and making frequent television appearances.
His sense of the modern “existential” was partly a matter of physical and moral courage, partly a matter of facing death—and partly a matter of taking on the centers of power of the sixties, which meant politics and media.
In his novels, Mailer’s voice tended to drown out that of his characters.
Though his novels have a hectic energy that seems to break the bounds of literary form and reach strange limbic depths, they also seem like dead ends, mere containers for those intermittent illuminations and shocks.
He became a celebrity, and celebrity became one of his principal subjects; he needed success, and success became one of his principal subjects.
He was only able to write about himself when he put himself in what he saw as the center of action of the times.