Ali Even Motivates the Dead: The Pursuit of Sovereignty in Norman Mailer'sThe Fight Academic Article uri icon


  • Norman Mailer was haunted by the specter of social deatha specter created for him by living as a Jew between the parentheses created by the Holocaust and the prospect of nuclear Armageddon. As an antidote to social death, Mailer sought its oppositesovereignty within and beyond his writer's sphere. In the boxer Muhammad Ali, Mailer found an exemplar of the seizure of sovereignty within and beyond a sphere.The Fightchronicles the heavyweight championship battle between Ali and George Foreman in Zaire, a country treated like a private bank account by its dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko. I argue that Mailer regrettably failed to emphasize fully the fact that Zaire was exhibit B (the Vietnam War being the writer's inevitable exhibit A) in the case Mailer passionately made that the Cold War brutalized the American psyche.

published proceedings

  • PMLA/Publications of the Modern Language Association of America

author list (cited authors)

  • Collins, M

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Collins, Michael

publication date

  • March 2013

published in