The Deer Park

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Deer Park
Cover of the first edition
AuthorNorman Mailer
CountryUnited States
GenreHollywood novel
PublisherG.P. Putnam's Sons
Publication date
October 14, 1955[1]
Preceded byBarbary Shore 
Followed byAn 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.[2]

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.

The title refers to the Parc-aux-Cerfs ("Deer Park"), a resort Louis XV of France kept stocked with young women for his personal pleasure.

Stage version[edit]

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.[3] "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.[4] Torn won an Obie Award for his performance.[5]



  1. ^ "Books Published Today". The New York Times: 25. October 14, 1955.
  2. ^ Holland, Steve (28 October 2000). "Obituary: Charles Rembar". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  3. ^ "The Deer Park: Production Information". Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  4. ^ "The Deer Park". Lortel Archives - The Internet Off-Broadway Database. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  5. ^ "1966–1967 Obie Awards". Retrieved 12 February 2015.