Arches & Light (Magill's Literary Annual 1984)
For a writer who, since the publication of On Moral Fiction in 1978, has been under almost continual attack and whose literary reputation reached its lowest point in the time between the appearance of his ninth novel, Mickelsson’s Ghosts, in June, 1982, and his death three months later, John Gardner has received a surprising amount of attention from academic critics, who have made him the subject of no fewer than seven books in the past four years: John Gardner: A Bibliographical Profile (1980), by John Howell; Moral Fiction: An Anthology (1980), edited by Joe David Bellamy; John Gardner: Critical Perspectives (1982), edited by Robert A. Morace and Kathryn VanSpanckeren; John Gardner: True Art, Moral Art (1983), edited by Beatrice Mendez-Egle; A World of Order and Light: The Fiction of John Gardner (1984), by Gregory Morris; John Gardner: An Annotated Secondary Bibliography (1984), by Robert A. Morace; and the book under review here, Arches & Light: The Fiction of John Gardner (1983), by David Cowart.
On the strength of his earlier critical study, Thomas Pynchon: The Art of Allusion (1980), Cowart’s view of Gardner demands the serious attention of anyone interested in Gardner and his work. Briefly stated, that view is as follows. Gardner believed thatthe artist must, in his work, make the world over from scratch. This creation is by no means irresponsible or...
(The entire section is 1713 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!