Cultural Writing. THE ENDURING VISION OF NORMAN MAILER is about one of America’s most respected, most controversial, and most prolific authors. This book is a critical study of Norman Mailer’s work, starting where the author’s previous book—THE STRUCTURED VISION OF NORMAN MAILER—ended. This book reveals a side of Mailer that only a friend and confidant would know, a side which Leeds has come to understand and appreciate. Leeds, a former Distinguished Professor of English at Central Connecticut State University, carefully and intelligently wove this personal Mailer into the Mailer persona and the Mailer art.
“Leeds’ ideas are engaging, his enthusiasm infectious, and his prose mercifully free of critical jargon. Recommended for contemporary literature collections” –William Gargan in Library Journal.
This is literary criticism with a heart and soul, and with an appreciation of subject, which is so often missed in contemporary analysis.
Dr. Barry H. Leeds, Distinguished Professor of English at Central Connecticut State University, is the author of two other books: THE STRUCTURED VISION OF NORMAN MAILER and KEN KESEY. He has taught at CCSU since 1968. Obituary for Barry H. Leeds
Drunkenboatblog.com: Remembering Dr. Barry H. Leeds (1940-2015)
Last month, on April 15, 2015, the distinguished professor and writer Barry Leeds passed away at the age of 74. Known for his biographies on Norman Mailer and Ken Kesey, Leeds provided significant insight into some of America’s most prolific minds of the mid 1900s.
Back in 2004, we published a series of audio recordings that took place between Leeds and Norman Mailer in 1987. In the wake of Leeds’s death these recordings become important artifacts of the post war generation and their effort to reflect back on American history as well as their personal lives.
Charming, witty, insightful, emotional….I read this book in one sitting because I was unable to put it down. Barry Leeds has given us a wonderful look into Norman Mailer’s life and career. Chapter 9-Mailer and Me is a very personal glimpse into the author’s life-how he came to know Norman Mailer, along with his own very personal triumphs and tragedies. You will be incredibly moved.
William Gargan, Library Journal –
Leeds (English, Central Connecticut State Univ.; The Structured Vision of Norman Mailer) is an unabashed Mailer fan. The present book, which is more subjective than his earlier volume, treats the themes of women and heterosexuality, politics, and ritualized violence in Mailer’s work. Leeds focuses on the writer’s later works, but he returns repeatedly to An American Dream, a novel he deems central to Mailer’s artistic vision. Leeds’s ideas are engaging, his enthusiasm infectious, and his prose mercifully free of critical jargon. His generous use of quotations may draw readers back to Mailer’s works, something Leeds no doubt intends in a book that is more celebration than literary critique. Leeds’s 1987 interview with Mailer and a brief review essay on books about Mailer are included. A chapter titled “Mailer and Me” tells more about Leeds than Mailer, a fault that might leave the author open to a charge of self-indulgence. Nevertheless, the book provides a useful introduction to Mailer and his work. Recommended for contemporary literature collections.
J. Michael Lennon, Mailer Archivist and co-author of Norman Mailer: Works and Days –
I enjoyed reading this book immensely; it is a fine addition to the Mailer critical canon.
Barbara Lupack, author of Insanity as Redemption in Contemporary American Fiction –
Insightful, incisive, witty, compelling – the volume suggests provocative ways of looking at a major writer in his own time.