Norman Mailer, psychologist – Stephen Appel

From the New York Times:

Norman Mailer, the combative, controversial and often outspoken novelist who loomed over American letters longer and larger than any writer of his generation, died on Nov. 10, 2007 at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York. He was 84.

Like many a great novelist, Mailer was a great psychologist. It might be worth reminding readers, though, that Mailer did make the several forays into psychoanalytic theory itself. Perhaps the most ingeniously outrageous instance occurs in ‘Advertisements for Myself’. Here he took a paragraph from Freud’s ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’ and replaced depth psychological terms with economic. Then he took a paragraph from Marx’s ‘Capital‘ and replaced economic terms with depth psychological.

A couple of sentences will be enough to show the startling effect:

In the pages which follow I shall bring forward proof that there is a psychological technique which makes it possible to interpret the unconscious undercurrents of society, and that, if that procedure is employed, every society revels itself as a psychical structure which has an unconscious direction which can be detected at any assignable point in the overt activities of social life.

Another one:

The unconscious life of those people in whom the conventionally accepted mode of sexual relations prevails, presents itself as an immense accumulation od unsatisfied desires, its unit being a single unrequited desire.

Bus Stop Plus Norman MailerOriginally uploaded by Ted Adams

Mailer, N. (1959). Advertisements for myself. New York: Putnam.

McGrath, C. (2007). Times topics: Norman Mailer,

One Response to Norman Mailer, psychologist – Stephen Appel

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