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Quotations From NORMAN MAILER

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  • 1.
    Ultimately a hero is a man who would argue with the gods, and so awakens devils to contest his vision. The more a man can achieve, the more he may be certain that the devil will inhabit a part of his creation.
    Norman Mailer (b. 1923), U.S. author. The Presidential Papers, preface (1963).

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  • 2.
    The difference between writing a book and being on television is the difference between conceiving a child and having a baby made in a test tube.
    Norman Mailer (b. 1923), U.S. author. repr. In Conversations with Norman Mailer, ed. J. Michael Lennon (1988). "The Siege of Mailer: Hero to Historian," Village Voice (New York, Jan. 21, 1971).

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  • 3.
    I had a quick grasp of the secret to sanity—it had become the ability to hold the maximum of impossible combinations in one's mind.
    Norman Mailer (b. 1923), U.S. author. Stephen Rojack, in An American Dream, ch. 5, Dial (1965).
  • 4.
    Ultimately a hero is a man who would argue with the gods, and so awakens devils to contest his vision. The more a man can achieve, the more he may be certain that the devil will inhabit a part of his creation.
    Norman Mailer (b. 1923), U.S. author. The Presidential Papers, preface (1963).

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  • 5.
    Again, he felt a crude ecstasy. He could not have given the reason, but the mountain tormented him, beckoned him, held an answer to something he wanted. It was so pure, so austere.
    Norman Mailer (b. 1923), U.S. author. The Naked and the Dead, pt. 3, ch. 3, Rinehart (1948). describing Sgt. Sam Croft and Mt. Anaka.
  • 6.
    He had the kind of merriment a man sometimes knows when events have ended in utter disaster.
    Norman Mailer (b. 1923), U.S. author. The Naked and the Dead, pt. 1, ch. 4, Rinehart (1948). describing Pvt. Joey Goldstein, after the storm hits.

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  • 7.
    In America all too few blows are struck into flesh. We kill the spirit here, we are experts at that. We use psychic bullets and kill each other cell by cell.
    Norman Mailer (b. 1923), U.S. author. "The Fourth Presidential Paper—Foreign Affairs: Letter To Castro," The Presidential Papers (1963). Contrasting the U.S. with Cuba, where "hatred runs over into the love of blood."

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  • 8.
    I was now at a university in New York, a professor of existential psychology with the not inconsiderable thesis that magic, dread, and the perception of death were the roots of motivation.
    Norman Mailer (b. 1923), U.S. author. Stephen Rojack, in An American Dream, ch. 1, Dial (1965).

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  • 9.
    I met Jack Kennedy in November, 1946.... We went out on a double date and it turned out to be a fair evening for me. I seduced a girl who would have been bored by a diamond as big as the Ritz.
    Norman Mailer (b. 1923), U.S. author. Stephen Rojack, in An American Dream, ch. 1, Dial (1965).

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  • 10.
    Murder offers the promise of vast relief. It is never unsexual.
    Norman Mailer (b. 1923), U.S. author. Stephen Rojack, in An American Dream, ch. 1, Dial (1965).

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