Brooklyn, NY: November 16, 1948. Single leaf of watermarked bond paper, approx. 7 X 10-1/4 in., folded twice for mailing, with original envelope. A bit of marking from the adhesive of the envelope flaps affecting the verso of the letter; few minor dents, essentially fine. Item #205873
A nice, early letter written just six months after the publication of Mailer's first book, The Naked and the Dead, to the French biographer and critic Antonina Vallentin. Mailer and Vallentin had met in Paris and she wrote a review of The Naked and the Dead when it was published in France. In this letter, Mailer discusses his grappling with his own new literary celebrity, comparing himself to a character in the book: ". . . I feel like Dalleson who makes a few blundering moves and the whole battle, the whole campaign, roll [sic] away from under him. . ." He goes on to described the contrast between the solitude in which he worte the book and the public whirlwind of his post-publication life: ". . .Since I was not in the world or with the world at that time, I was able to construct my own world in a book. Since then there have been so many faces and so much activity, the Wallace movement and all the absurdities of being a 90-day celebrity. I suppose I feel like a character in a Kafka novel." Mailer informs her of the pending French translation and of his eagerness to read her article when she's finished it. An excellent, content-rich letter of about 250 words offering a glimpse into the beginning of a sensational literary career.