Earthly Delights, Unearthly Adornments (Magill's Literary Annual 1979)
That Wright Morris is a writers’ writer has seemed the case for nearly forty years. He has many admirers; he should have more. Americans should appreciate him; he understands us. He is a protean storyteller. He has remarkable energy, having produced some thirty volumes, including eighteen novels, a collection of short stories, four photo-texts, an anthology, and four collections of essays, of which Earthly Delights, Unearthly Adornments is the most recent. He has written adventurously, always daring to push to new limits his craft, always changing and growing. Despite the size of his canon and his tenure on the scene, he has never quite caught the fancy of the general public—and he has never tried to. That is as it should be, but it is also a shame, because he succeeds cogently in showing Americans to themselves. Although he did win, twenty-three years ago, the National Book Award for his novel The Field of Vision, his is clearly not the purpose of the bestseller author. Instead, he is that rare artist who is equally interested in substance and technique: a stylist and craftsman.
Morris loves his stories, and he loves the process of deciding among the immense variety of possible forms for their telling. Art for him is heightened reality. His dual regard for reality and its rendering makes him special among American fiction writers...
(The entire section is 1579 words.)
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