(image c. Library of Congress)
Norman Mailer died today of renal failure. He was 84 years old. Here’s a good write-up on his life and work from MSNBC, and here’s the NYTimes obit. He was an incredibly prolific author and won several Pulitzers. He is quoted as having despaired that today’s young writers aren’t even trying to write serious novels anymore; they’re not inspired by the great writing of, for example, Hemingway, the way he was and instead all just want to write screenplays, supposedly because writing movies pays well. I think the problem is not with the writers; it’s more that it’s near impossible to get a literary novel published these days. Agents and editors only want something that has the potential to sell very well. I wonder if that was so to the same extent in his younger days.