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American Minimalism: The Western Vernacular in Norman Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song.

By Andrew Wilson


This paper identifies and discusses the western vernacular and minimalist tendencies in Norman Mailer’s 1980 Pulitzer Prize winning “true-life story” The Executioner’s Song.  Mailer’s use of a lean, often flat style of narration is read in relation to Truman Capote’s “non-fiction novel” In Cold Blood to measure the extent to which Mailer moved beyond a conventional novelistic approach. The article positions The Executioner’s Song alongside earlier minimalist styles in American Literature and takes stock of Mailer’s use of oral storytelling techniques and panoramic perspectives. Mailer’s minimal presence in the narrative and the original capital punishment proceedings is established, with support from early reviews, debates surrounding the genre of The Executioner’s Song and interviews given by the author since its publication in 1979

Publisher: 'OpenEdition'
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.4000/ejas.7532
OAI identifier:
Provided by: OpenEdition

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