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Prisoner of Sex

3.01  ·  Rating details ·  213 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Here, by America's foremost candidate for the Nobel Prize, is the book that some fifteen years ago created a firestorm among true believeers of the women's liberation movement, and which on rereading and contemplation emerges as one of the most sensible, sensitive and probing works on the ageless dialectic of man, woman, man-woman ever to be written.

Unlike some of those wh

Paperback, 264 pages
Published November 13th 1985 by Plume (first published 1971)
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Ted Burke
Jul 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is much to argue with in "The Prisoner of Sex", and though I'm in sympathy with the aims of the women's movement, I cheer Mailers' defense of the artists right to use their sexuality and sense of the sensual world as proper fodder for poetic expression.

There are times when Mailer- the- mystic clogs up an otherwise lacerating argument,where his romanticism veers dangerously towards a lunatics hallucinations, but his defense of Miller, Lawrence and Genet against the clumsier moments of Mill
Ben Loory
Aug 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
well, after that Gospel According to the Son debacle, i decided to channel my norman mailer thing into his non-fiction for a while... and i'm very glad i did, because this book was a lot of fun. when mailer makes sense, he makes a lot of sense, and when he doesn't, he's at least thrilling to read... never a dull moment along the way, though lots of semi-admirational head-scratching... the general vibe mailer gives off is of a man who above all believes in progress... in working towards personal, ...more
Jun 03, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I decided to read this book because last year I read The Executioner's Song and it was fantastic. Well, this self indulgent mini-thesis on "love" by Mailer somewhat less than fantastic. In its defense, it was written in 1971 and Mailer was in one of many fights of his life with the feminist movement. And yes, some of the leaders of the movement in the 60's and early 70's were a bit humourless and strident but they had to be to shake things up. This book is Mailer's retort to feminists who called ...more
A distillation of Mailer's metaphysical ideas about sex, procreation, and the cosmological order of human relations, all in response to women's lib. Weak only when Mailer exclusively aims his cross-hairs on Kate Millet's idiotic-sounding Sexual Politics, and when he employ flowery prose when precision would have worked better toward making a point.
Mar 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
not only was this an eye opening experience of mailer's writing, so far all my female friends that have read it have loved it as well, recommending it to their friends.
who else could be living with a woman, cooking and cleaning for her, her children, his own children and write a book like this but norman mailer?
Jul 04, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lot of this book goes off into metaphysical inquiries that don't do all that much for me. At times, it also comes off as dated, since the feminist theorist Norman Mailer is most responding to (Kate Millett) is hardly a household name today. But I'd say that this and Armies of the Night are among Mailer's funniest works that I've read.

I liked this musing on journalism:

"How much easier, he could not help but think, to have gone forth, notebook in hand, to give a running account of further advent
Benjamin Kerstein
Contains a passage dealing with rape that is frankly embarrassing and morally indefensible. That being said, it also contains a substantial early critique of 1960s and '70s feminism and its tendency toward demonizing masculinity. Worth reading, but with a skeptical eye.
Mar 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Superb! Even when he's wrong he's right.
Jul 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Worth it for the Mailer Theory of Conception.
Too navel-gazey, even for him, to be terrific (let alone among Mailer's best), and I had to subtract a star for the absurd notions put forward in the final chapter in regard to conception, but overall, still an intriguing read. Also, possibly the most thorough, protracted literary slam I've read in years (in this case, against Kate Millett).
R.K. Byers
leave it to Mailer to prove the equality of the sexes by turning catty.
I had to read this in small portions because otherwise I'd get too pissed off and steam would start coming out of my feminist killjoy ears.
Patrick Whitehurst
Vaginas have acid in them? And trees, I hear, have bark.
Jul 12, 2007 rated it did not like it
This could be the worst book I have ever read.
Raegan Butcher
Feb 06, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Huh? What? How on earth did this guy makes MILLIONS writing crap like this?
This novel is not exactly what I thought it was going to be about. It is about Mr. Mailer coming to terms with the women's liberation movement.
Jan 10, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
struggled through, possibly cause its dated, but it was on my shelf...
A vile little bit of vengeful geekery, basically Mailer's book-length rant name-calling at some of the easier targets in the women's movement. Utter crappe.
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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.
More about Norman Mailer...