Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

John Gardner believed in the importance of striving to understand others’ points of view. What are the effects of his very unusual assumption of a monster’s point of view in Grendel?

Christian imagery in Grendel is said to give it “power and resonance.” Locate instances of this imagery. How would you justify this claim?

What, according to Gardner, are the responsibilities of a novelist?

For Gardner, authentic art is moral art. Is there such a thing as immoral art?

Gardner makes severe criticisms of a number of novelists of his time. What is the essence of his charges against them? Could the same criticisms be justly leveled against his own work?

What is an antinovel? How does the one said to be imbedded in October Light function?