By Pamela Loos, Harold Bloom
This name, Norman Mailer, a part of Chelsea residence Publishers’ glossy serious perspectives sequence, examines the key works of Norman Mailer via full-length severe essays by way of specialist literary critics. moreover, this name includes a brief biography on Norman Mailer, a chronology of the author’s lifestyles, and an introductory essay written by way of Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of the arts, Yale collage.
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The motive power driving the mission forward is twentieth-century The Struggle of the Poetic and Scientiﬁc Myths in Of a Fire on the Moon 27 corporate capitalism, and its deus ex machina, the German engineer Werner von Braun, is literally dropped into a meeting on the eve of the launch by a helicopter. After developing the German rockets ﬁred at London in World War II, von Braun brought his crew of rocket experts to America and developed the big boosters which power the exploration of space. Aquarius plays with the idea that there is some meaning in the similarity of NASA and Nazi, but the geist that really creates NASA and shapes it in its own image is modern capitalism, “the marriage of huge proﬁt with huge service, of teamwork ...
Or magnetism? or gravity? We know how to make these forces work, but their ultimate nature remains an enigma. Huge answerless questions are thus raised to cast their shadows over NASA’s clarity. The deep powers of the mind posited by romanticism as the source of true knowledge, the imagination, the collective unconscious, the Dionysiac, the id, “the mansions, theaters, and dungeons of the deepest unconscious where knowledge of a more poetic and dread-ﬁlled nature may reside,” (156) have been a fortress of literature long after science and rationalism conquered the surface of the daylight world.
Throughout the book the large metaphysical schemes and meanings that Aquarius has sought to fasten on the voyage to the moon have not been asserted as fact but smuggled in as subjunctive possibilities or as questions. ” (370) “Was the world more polluted” because a great novel had not been written? ” (174) Suspense is built by such means, but when almost every major statement of meaning, metaphysical, moral, psychological, is bracketed as only a possibility, such deep uncertainty is not overcome by the joyous proclamation of the smell of a moon rock, through two layers of glass.