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On Moral Fiction

Narrated by: Bob Souer
Length: 6 hrs and 17 mins
Categories: History, 20th Century
4.5 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"Fearless, illuminating" criticism from a New York Times bestselling author and legendary teacher, "proving... that true art is moral and not trivial" (Los Angeles Times).  

Novelist John Gardner's thesis in On Moral Fiction is simple: "True art is by its nature moral." It is also an audacious statement, as Gardner asserts an inherent value in life and in art. Since the book's first publication, the passion behind Gardner's assertion has both provoked and inspired fans. In examining the work of his peers, Gardner analyzes what has gone wrong, in his view, in modern art and literature, and how shortcomings in artistic criticism have contributed to the problem. He develops his argument by showing how artists and critics can reintroduce morality and substance to their work to improve society and cultivate our morality.   

On Moral Fiction is a must-listen book in which Gardner presents his thoughtfully developed criteria for the elements he believes are essential to art and its creation.

©1978 John C. Gardner (P)2019 Tantor

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An Important Artistic Genius on a Fabulous Rant

I admit, I consider John Gardner probably the best fiction writer of the last century. And, in this book, he explains to me why I feel that way.
Gardner was a writer whose work was always affirming (even when bad things happened) and true, in a metaphysical sort of way. (It is also magnificent.) In this book, he explains his values--But he explains them in a sort of manic rant, in which he can display some of the best of his intellect, his remarkable talent with words, and his huge heart. It is somewhat like hearing six hours of Shakespeare's best soliloquies. (I can only return to Shakespeare after a binge with John Gardner.)
Also, here Gardner explains to me why I never enjoyed some of the extremely well-respected big name "serious" writers of the last century.
Thank you, Audible, for producing this book.

PS--This is one of the only times I have THOUGHT about running an audiobook on a slower speed. Keeping up with John Gardner's lightning fast and extremely erudite mind, plus his incredibly sensual images, is not always easy to do. However, my ipod is working well on the "regular" setting, and I don't want to rock the boat!

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  • Jim T
  • Illinois
  • 10-18-19

Right in the Chops!

John Gardner does not mince words when he gives examples of bad writers, bad writing and bad critical reviews and critics. The audio book give a great 'in depth' analysis of Art, Beauty, Truth and Goodness. No wonder it caused such an uproar when it came out almost 40 years ago. You can call it smug, elite, snobbish - yet as far as I am concerned, it's honesty is refreshing.