Mailer Crosses Rubicon, Enters Bounteously Endowed Temple

NormanmailerNew York magazine’s Daily Intelligencer reports that Norman Mailer has cast away his fears of writing about man-on-man action in The Castle in the Forest, his recent tome about the youth of Adolf Hitler. It’s not Hitler but his older brother with the homosexual inclinations.

Via Intelligencer:

“Young ‘Adi’ has an older brother who puts ‘his happy blood-filled organ’ into the ‘yearning lips’ of an elderly beekeeper and whose buttocks ‘feel like the portals to a bounteously endowed temple.’ The author, 84, wrote more than 50 years ago that he was ‘guilty’ of ‘attributing unpleasant, ridiculous, or sinister connotations to the homosexual … characters in my novels.’ So what’s changed? Was it firsthand research? ‘You have to cross the Rubicon to do that [and] I didn’t feel comfortable doing that,’ he says. ‘But then I thought, Come on, it’s not that hard to imagine what it’s like.’ Is there some safety in his age? ‘Oh, yes. When you’re younger, it takes more courage to be brave. You can lose so much. It’s enjoyable to be brave now, whereas when I was younger it was hairy and sweaty.'”

Considering Mailer spends the bulk of his time at his home in Provincetown, Massachusetts (where things are often “hairy and sweaty”), he’d probably be more likely than most to understand what “crossing the Rubicon” entails.

Advertisements for a Gay Self [intelligencer]


  1. jimmyboyo says

    Norman Mailer actualy did gay sex back in 1983 in his Egyptian Evenings book. The God Set tries to bugger his nephew the young god Horus but instead gets buggered by Horus.

    the book goes back and forth between the time right after death of an egyptian with his ka doing what ancient egyptians thought kas did and then back to the story of the gods detailing the aforementioned male on male sex.

  2. Rad says

    High-brow Gay Literature. After years of “Men Magazine” fiction, finally, something that challenges the brain to paint the tapistry of man-on-man action. Who knew?


  3. says

    “Oh, yes. When you’re younger, it takes more courage to be brave. You can lose so much. It’s enjoyable to be brave now, whereas when I was younger it was hairy and sweaty.” Norman Mailer

    Exactly why celebs are so worried about coming out today…what wimps. So are you saying Norman, …wait until you have millions and no one can touch you before you protect and stand up for the rights of others?

    Norman I say to you: Imagine the good you might have done wielding your pen with thoughts of tolerance and acceptance. With as much respect and power you have had with your writings with the intelligencia, and folks who love your work, for the past 30 years I am thankful that you are FINALLY standing up for what you know is “right” but please, you are a bloody WIMP waiting so long. You should be ashamed; must we all wait until our 70’s to change injustice in our world?

    If his quotation above does not empower all of us to stand up for, focus on, and help those kids who come out everyday and head up GSAs and other organizations, at a very young age, across the country I don’t know what will.

    These kids are the truly brave ones, who realize that what they “might” lose they gain in respect and dignity for themselves and gain a community of wonderful people who think being who they are is just fine!

    So…support all of these kids because, as we can infer from Mr. Mailer’s quotation above, if people don’t have support and they think they will lose everything by doing what is right and in their heart, they will continue to deny themselves and we collectively continue to allow bigots to rule the day.

  4. Atheist says

    Chip – I am irked…

    Before you start deriding Norman Mailer for not writing about homosexuality in glowing terms as a younger man, remember this; Mailer was born in 1923; he was socialised in the 20’s and 30’s and was middle aged in the 50’s. How completely unthinkable was homosexuality back then? Homosexual acts criminalized; homosexuality pathologised as mental illness and men demonized as sexual deviants requiring aggressive psychiatric intervention – quite apart from the fact that as a straight man, Mailer would have had no particular reason to contemplate the issue. He, like the rest of us, was/is a product of his time. He couldn’t think himself outside of the consciousness by which he was limited. You can’t blame him for that. And why should he have taken on the cause of gay men in the 1950’s or 60’s? I have no doubt that you are well aware of history but what life must have actually been like in the day demands some serious contemplation before charges of “wimp” are made.

    Mailer now openly rues his lack of courage, lends his support and is criticised for not doing so sooner when in fact, he doesn’t *have to* do so at all; if he didn’t, it wouldn’t occur to criticize him for remaining silent.

    What about all the other straight American writers? Should they all be writing gay characters into their novels for your edification? Mailer’s contemporary, Gore Vidal wrote the City and the Pillar, yes, but as someone who famously refuses to call himself gay, he can’t really be said to have lent his support any more robustly than Mailer. Perhaps he too still suffers the residual effects of growing up in the 30’s?

    Mailer doesn’t owe you or anyone else any allegiance(except perhaps his family). He’s not even gay for god’s sake. He’s a writer; he writes about what he wants to write about; that’s his prerogative as well as is his duty.

  5. oddjob says

    I find it quite telling that one who once famously would not contemplate the love that dare not speak its name now regards it as almost de rigeur to do so.

Leave A Reply