The Deer Park
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|Publisher||G.P. Putnam's Sons|
|Preceded by||Barbary Shore|
|Followed by||An American Dream|
The Deer Park is a Hollywood novel written by Norman Mailer and published in 1955 by G.P. Putnam's Sons after it was rejected by Mailer's publisher, Rinehart & Company, for obscenity. Despite having already typeset the book, Rinehart claimed that the manuscript's obscenity voided its contract with Mailer. Mailer retained his cousin, the attorney Charles Rembar, who became a noted defense attorney for publishers involved in censorship trials.
Rembar disagreed with Rinehart's characterization of the manuscript as obscene, and threatened to take the publisher to court. Rinehart settled with Mailer, allowing him to keep his advance.
A roman à clef, the metaphorical "Deer Park" is Desert D'Or, California (a fictionalized Palm Springs). A fashionable desert resort, Hollywood's elite converge there for fun and games and relaxation. The novel's protagonist, Sergius O'Shaughnessy (a recently discharged Air Force officer), is a would-be novelist who experiences the moral depravity of the Hollywood community first hand.
Norman Mailer adapted his novel into a play. It opened Off-Broadway at the Theatre de Lys (now the Lucille Lortel Theatre) on Christopher St. in Greenwich Village on January 31, 1967. The play closed on May 21, 1967, after 128 performances. "The Deer Park" was directed by Leo Garen and starred Rip Torn, Marsha Mason, Mailer's former brother-in-law Mickey Knox, and Mailer's third wife, Beverley Bentley. Torn won an Obie Award for his performance.
- For commentary on this book, see: Wild, Peter (2011). Paradise of Desire: Eleven Palm Springs Novels. Tucson, AZ: Estate of Peter Wild. p. 281. OCLC 748584112.