Norman Mailer on a Vagina

It was no graveyard now, no warehouse, no, more like a chapel now, a modest decent place, but its walls were snug, its odor was green, there was a sweetness in the chapel.

That description of female genitals is evidence of Mailer's "hopped-up, quasi-religious view of sex," according to the interesting long-ish essay titled The Naked and the Conflicted. It compares how Roth, Updike, Mailer, etc. prolifically and wildly deployed sex in their novels compared to today's young talents like Wallace (RIP), Eggers, and Kunkel, who cast a more skeptical eye on sexual impulses.

Here's Mailer on lust:

Lust exhibits all the attributes of junk. It dominates the mind and other habits, it appropriates loyalties, generalizes character, leaches character out, rides on the fuel of almost any emotional gas — whether hatred, affection, curiosity, even the pressures of boredom — yet it is never definable because it can alter to love or be as suddenly sealed from love.

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