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Advertisements for Myself

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  576 ratings  ·  25 reviews
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, ...more
Paperback, 532 pages
Published September 15th 1992 by Harvard University Press (first published 1959)
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M. Sarki
Mar 08, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: haters of norman mailer

Things were going pretty swell for me reading what the old coot had to say and absorbing his endless rants of wisdom, enjoying all the advertisements and side notes regarding people, places, and things. By the time I got to The White Negro I was moving fast and furious, rethinking my position on a person I for the most part did not like, a writer who never meant much to me except as a character buffoon in the Gordon Lish first novel Dear Mr. Capote.

Oct 17, 2007 rated it liked it
Mailer seems like an important transitional figure for the American zeitgeist. He's a champion of the look-at-me attitude that after decades of growth has found a new level on the internet. However, he balances this solipsism with intellectual rigor, or more precisely, the appearance of intellectual rigor, which hasn't as readily translated to the Web 2.0.
Gabriel Congdon
Apr 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
482 ratings, take THAT, Norman Mailer! So much for advertising for yourself. Let me tell you buddy, if I know anything about the upcoming generation of writers (and I don't), they are going to HATE your work, way to masculine, but you believed in a form greatness that simply doesn't exist any more. The earthlings of 2100 may find some use for your, but it'll be a Spanish pause till then. Being a film noir man, I was aware of how awash America was with Freudianism, but I was surprised by how much ...more
Jul 14, 2013 rated it liked it
When I think of Norman Mailer I think of a figure like the one William Vollmann seems to cut in more contemporary times. Both men have distinct interests in sexuality (for Mailer an obsession with anal sex; for Vollmann a predilection for prostitutes), in large working projects (the many Great American Novels and novel cycles Mailer attempted to write and either finished partially or never started to begin with; Vollmann's ongoing cycle of novels about interactions with Native Americans and ...more
Andrew Kramcsak
Aug 06, 2007 rated it really liked it
This is the first book I ever read of Norman's. It combines two elements that are essential to his character: bat shit crazy bombastic proclamations (read him as he smugly battles people over his Village Voice editorial space!) to his genuine talent for the written word. But the hell with that, skip to the back (Norman only cares that you agree with him)and read his spot on characterizations of his fellow writers.
May 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A guilty pleasure. To me it's sort of like going to the supermarket and browsing US magazine. The egotism and narcissism on display for some reason seem fun and sort of charming. As he wrestles with language, we get a real sense of personality, of another human being struggling to create art though it doesn't seem to come either easily or naturally to him. The fact that he succeeds all the same is inspiring.
Feb 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
The best stuff in this is really good. Especially his voice columns. The worst stuff is tedious.
Mar 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: social-crit

(Accidentally) Visionary and prophetic...
This was a very enjoyable book, from first to last, and even the somewhat lengthy dissertations on Hip and Square were enlightening and a handy window into 1950s culture, even if they do seem quaint and indeed dumb (though I suppose the culture they were countering was dumber still).

At one point Mailer even predicts the rise of Nazism in the future of America which is prescient, but he based it on a rewriting of the past and editing of Hitler's persona (better voice &c), which wasn't even
Nov 06, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
this is mailer at his worst. self-analytical beyond the point of narcissism, being very articulate about things he clearly hasn't thought past beyond what will garner a knee-jerk reaction from the audience, and often (too often) showing us pieces of bad writing (while acknowledging that they are bad) only to then tell us why he doesn't necessarily think they are bad. what this is is a great artist (if not a great thinker; mailer's "thoughts" are at times problematic and numerous enough to ...more
May 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people looking for alternative classics
I wasn't familiar with Norman Mailer's work so this was an interesting introduction. His introductions to the pieces were often entertaining and it was much like an anthology.
Feb 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A collection of articles and short stories by Mailer with forewords by him for each piece. Over 500 pages but still a quick read.
Mailer tires me. He is limited by his ego. I didn't like his patronizing evaluations of other authors - except for female authors, because he couldn't find any worth reading. I paraphrase.
Some of the subject matter was diminished by time. No one cares about the miniutia of how Hipsters differ from Beatniks. He hung around people with embarrassing affectations.
I didn't
Aug 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
In full disclosure, I only read this book because I am trying to finish up the Barthelme Syllabus. I mostly think that Norman Mailer represents the worst kind of entitled white dude author - racist, super misogynist, both self-aggrandizing and self-deprecating (including pieces of his work that he even admits are bullshit). In any case, he's not without talent, but I'd be happy to never read him again.
Mar 06, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: journalism
In addition to a selection of Mailer’s early writing (short stories, journalistic articles, essays, interviews, poems), this book includes the author’s critical comments about that work. The book includes “The White Negro,” an essay analyzing the social and political conditions out of which the “Beat Generation” emerged.
Jan 05, 2019 added it
A real mixed bag, but a worthwhile one. Builds up to some extraordinary fragments at the end. He announces the scale of his ambitions, and then successfully demonstrates that he has it in him to meet them. This is the beginning of a Mailer journey for me, and I have to say that I'm impressed so far.
Mar 08, 2012 rated it liked it
A little boring and out of date. He is a great writer and a passionate man, but I just can't get into the history of his work like I do with Hunter S. Thompson. I have one of his novels that I am interested in reading, but as for this book, I think it will only be interesting as a supplement to his larger works.
Jun 08, 2013 rated it liked it
I did not read the whole book,it is a compilation of his essays and short stories, he suggests the best ones to read in the preface. Some stories seem very dated, they were mostly written in the 1950s. He comes of as a racist and homophobe.
Mar 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Short stories from the early years that are surprisingly good. Marxist critiques. A writer's self education told in brash first person. The closer you read the larger Mailer's worldview appears to the reader. A treat to discover. No one loved America more, with a critical edge.
Matthew Matheson
Jan 28, 2008 marked it as to-read
Stephen Leary
Mar 01, 2013 rated it liked it
It made a large impression on me at the time I read it. I took an interest in Mailer more as a personality than as a writer.
Nov 28, 2014 rated it liked it
As I remember this is a collection of essays and small pieces. Is "The White Negro" included? I think he was criticizing that bit of NY society the Leonard Bernstein was leading.
Thomas Baughman
This might be Mailer's best book. It showcases the best facets of his art. The three long stories are arguably his best fiction and some of the essays are compelling.
Apr 08, 2013 rated it liked it
I don't even know what to say about this. Mailer is such a scumbag but that's the point! "The White Negro" is just completely insane! I hated all the fiction.
Aug 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
My first real insight into an older white man's head. I've never read anything of Mailer's before or since. This did the trick.
Rama Chandran
rated it it was amazing
Aug 08, 2017
rated it did not like it
Apr 02, 2015
Peycho Kanev
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Oct 15, 2010
Glenn Lee
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Dec 18, 2014
rated it really liked it
Oct 14, 2017
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Norman Kingsley Mailer was an American novelist, journalist, essayist, poet, playwright, screenwriter, and film director.

Along with Truman Capote, Joan Didion, and Tom Wolfe, Mailer is considered an innovator of creative nonfiction, a genre sometimes called New Journalism, but which covers the essay to the nonfiction novel. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize twice and the National Book Award once.
“Every moment of one’s existence one is growing into more or retreating into less. One is always living a little more or dying a little bit.” 70 likes
“I guess all that's left is to love the fire.” 24 likes
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