The Review of Politics

Research Article

Political Prophecy in Contemporary American Literature: The Left-Conservative Vision of Norman Mailer

Cyrus Ernesto Zirakzadeh


Popular and prize-winning writer Norman Mailer has advanced a view of American politics and society that he calls “left conservatism.” This paper analyzes elements of Mailer's critique and describes how the parts fit together. Special attention is given to his interpretation of economic history and social psychology, his vision of moral health that he associates with the term “hipster,” and his fear of a new political mentality in the United States that he conveys through a neologism, the “wad.” The paper closes with a sketch of the ways Mailer's left conservatism both dovetails with and departs from the concerns and arguments of other contemporary American conservative thinkers.