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Mailer Remembered as Controversial, Provocative

Norman Mailer's work combined sweeping cultural criticism, erudition and obscenity.

Mailer's 60-year career was full of depth and controversy. The novelist, who died Nov. 10, was often deliberately provocative, says book critic Maureen Corrigan.

And though he made perhaps his strongest impact as an essayist and journalist, Mailer wanted to be remembered as a novelist.

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Maureen Corrigan, book critic for NPR's Fresh Air, is The Nicky and Jamie Grant Distinguished Professor of the Practice in Literary Criticism at Georgetown University. She is an associate editor of and contributor to Mystery and Suspense Writers (Scribner) and the winner of the 1999 Edgar Award for Criticism, presented by the Mystery Writers of America. In 2019, Corrigan was awarded the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing by the National Book Critics Circle.