Academic journal article The Mailer Review

Valentine's Day

Academic journal article The Mailer Review

Valentine's Day

Article excerpt

WHEN NORMAN DIED, I felt ontologically heartbroken. It was as if a category of existence itself had become defunct. I had two things to console me: the fact that I had been able to publish an essay celebrating Norman's splendor as a writer while he was still alive; and my subsequent meeting with Norman, when he invited me to his house in Brooklyn Heights for lunch. He invited me on Valentine's Day, which was perhaps his gracious, impish way of telling how much he appreciated what I had written about him. As for me, Valentine's Day was entirely appropriate because I fell in love with him.

They say that Goethe could feel an earthquake hundreds of miles away, and Norman had that kind of primeval intensity. I did not understand his writing better upon meeting him. What I suddenly understood was the source of his work in his force as a man. Energy is pure delight, said Blake, and Norman's writing, even at its darkest and most anguished, filled you with a vicarious sense of his own creative power. …

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