Search Results: "John Gardner"


BOOK REVIEW

Released: Jan. 11, 1983

"Repetitious and disorganized, heavier on rhetoric than step-by-step guidance—but sure to interest creative-writing teachers and, to a lesser extent, beginning writers."
Like On Becoming a Novelist (p. 428), these lecture/instructions on writing—completed before novelist/teacher Gardner's death last year—involve an often-dense mixture of theory, philosophy, and practical technical matters. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

ON BECOMING A NOVELIST by John Gardner
Released: May 25, 1983

"Otherwise: for creative-writing teachers (and budding novelists) only—and, even on those terms, a mixture of the helpful and the platitudinous."
The late novelist John Gardner was also a longtime creative-writing teacher, and this small how-to book is addressed to "the beginning novelist who has already figured out that it is far more satisfying to write well than simply to write well enough to get published." Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

Released: April 1, 1977

"Forcefully written, provocative, and filled with a likable spirit of freewheeling evangelism."
The Chaucer revealed by the last few decades of critical scholarship is much in need of a good popular biography; the cosy trivialities of Marchette Chute's 1946 Geoffrey Chaucer of England have little to do with the joyous solempnitee and vast sophistication we now discern in the works. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

THE WRECKAGE OF AGATHON by John Gardner
Released: Sept. 23, 1970

"Impressive thoughts on important concerns, but not always succeeding on fictional terms."
Mad, raving old men with elegant pasts can make lunacy worth listening to—like a Shakespearean king or Mr. Gardner's Agathon, a self-styled seer holding forth at the time of the ascendance of Sparta. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

KING'S INDIAN by John Gardner
Released: Dec. 1, 1974

Midnight tales for the literary intellectual — which, you will rightly observe, could mean almost anything from Mensa-level insomniac pastime to serious brooding. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

ON MORAL FICTION by John Gardner
Released: April 19, 1978

"But, excessive and self-limited as Gardner's 'rules' for moral fiction may be, they do illuminate the lousiness of much of today's writing, they do remind us of the viability of some centuries-old models, and they will provoke a good deal of healthily furious literary fisticuffs."
The essence (which is all you need) of this profound and petty essay appears in 1978's Pushcart Prize collection (p. 220)—and an indisputable essence it is: what Arthur Miller so eloquently demands from drama, novelist Gardner demands from fiction—that it seek "to improve life, not debase it," that it "ought to be a force bringing people together, breaking down barriers of prejudice and ignorance, and holding up ideals worth pursuing." Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

Released: Oct. 20, 1977

"After a moody, entrancing first chapter worthy of Joe Servello's few but fetching illustrations, this shifty fable shakes down to one part cutes, one part philosofad (role reversal, being 'born again'), and one part John Gardner word magic (always welcome)—a guaranteed triptych ticket into the trendier Christmas stockings but nothing likely to last into the New Year."

BOOK REVIEW

GILGAMESH by John R. Maier
translated by John R. Maier, edited by John Gardner
Released: Oct. 5, 1984

"But any intelligent effort to popularize that enigmatic primeval masterpiece is more than welcome."
Too fussy and detailed for the casual reader, too amateurish for the scholar, this curious collaboration between novelist Gardner (completed just before his fatal motorcycle crash in 1982) and English professor Maier (SUNY, Brockport), with help from Assyriologist Richard A. Henshaw (Colgate Rochester Div. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

GRENDEL by John Gardner
Released: Sept. 17, 1971

"At the close one is not sure if the savior is 'blithe of his deed,' but Gardner, the word-pleaser, should be."
As in Resurrection (1966) and The Wreckage of Agathon (1970) Gardner demonstrates his agility at juggling metaphysical notions while telling a diverting tale. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

FREDDY'S BOOK by John Gardner
Released: March 1, 1980

"Here his lumbering counterattacks and homilies pummel away whatever surface charms the story has, making this a stiff little diversion (illustrated by Daniel Biamonte) of interest mainly to tireless observers of book-world bickering."
Gardner's belief in the primacy of tale-telling (see Moral Fiction) is so firm that he doesn't mind telling us that this tale isn't exactly his own: "A key event in Freddy's Book (King Gustav and the Devil) is drawn from a tale in Mark Helprin's collection, A Dove of the East and Other Stories," explains the prefatory note. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

JASON AND MEDEIA by John Gardner
Released: June 1, 1973

"Perhaps, after all, encounters with antiquity are better left to Europeans."
John Gardner is a writer of great energy and intellectual inventiveness, saturated in an imagination addicted to myth, mostly the existential sort, man creating his own myths about the self, about order, about love, as the world surrounding him falls to pieces, becomes increasingly chaotic or mindless or threatening. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

ON WRITERS AND WRITING by John Gardner
Released: April 1, 1994

"It sounds so intelligent."
By the time he died in a motorcycle crash in 1982, novelist John Gardner had distinguished himself as a candid, thoughtful critic of his fellow fiction writers who wasn't embarrassed to write a manifesto, On Moral Fiction (1978), that argued against purely aesthetic, formal judgments of literature. Read full book review >