The Atlantic runs
a few excerpts
Mailer's massive trove – over a thousand boxes!
– of correspondence. In 1965, he writes to William F. Buckley,
Jr., about Joan Didion (who, without any premeditation on my part,
seems to be turning into the recurring theme of this week's
What a marvelous girl
Joan Didion must be. I think that’s one conservative I would like
to meet. And who would ever have thought that the nicest [review of
An American Dream] I am to read about myself four weeks after
publication should come in the National Review. Well, this is the
year of literary wonders. What do you think the odds would have been
for a parlay of good reviews in National Review, Life, the New York
Times Sunday Book Review, Paul Pickrel at Harper’s, and the Chicago
Tribune. One hundred fifty million to one, or would we have picked it
Anyway, I write you
this letter in great envy. I think you are going finally to displace
me as the most hated man in American life. And of course that
position is bearable only if one is number one.
A thousand boxes! Could it be that
Mailer is one of those writers who will end up being admired more for
their collected letters or journals than for the work published
during their lifetimes?