John Gardner Quotes

Quotes tagged as "john-gardner" (showing 1-4 of 4)
“After moving his family from Yakima to Paradise, California, in 1958, he enrolled at Chico State College. There, he began an apprenticeship under the soon-to-be-famous John Gardner, the first "real writer" he had ever met. "He offered me the key to his office," Carver recalled in his preface to Gardner’s On Becoming a Novelist (1983). "I see that gift now as a turning point." In addition, Gardner gave his student "close, line-by-line criticism" and taught him a set of values that was "not negotiable." Among these values were convictions that Carver held until his death. Like Gardner, whose On Moral Fiction (1978) decried the "nihilism" of postmodern formalism, Carver maintained that great literature is life-connected, life-affirming, and life-changing. "In the best fiction," he wrote "the central character, the hero or heroine, is also the ‘moved’ character, the one to whom something happens in the story that makes a difference. Something happens that changes the way that character looks at himself and hence the world." Through the 1960s and 1970s he steered wide of the metafictional "funhouse" erected by Barth, Barthelme and Company, concentrating instead on what he called "those basics of old-fashioned storytelling: plot, character, and action." Like Gardner and Chekhov, Carver declared himself a humanist. "Art is not self-expression," he insisted, "it’s communication.”
William L. Stull

John Gardner
“Don’t be fooled by clever hands, sir” the Sunlight Man said. He’d be lying with the back of his head on his hands, as he always lay. “Entertainment’s all very well, but the world is serious. It’s exceedingly amusing, when you think about it: nothing in life is as startling or shocking or mysterious as a good magician’s trick. That’s what makes stagecraft deadly. Listen closely, friend. You see great marvels performed on the stage - the lady sawed in half, the fat man supported by empty air, the Hindu vanishing with the folding of a cloth - and the subtlest of poisons drifts into your brain: you think the earth dead because the sky is full of spirits, you think the hall drab because the stage is adazzle with dimestore gilt. So King Lear rages, and the audience grows meek, and tomorrow, in the gray of old groceries, the housewife will weep for Cordelia and despair for herself. They weren’t fools, those old sages who called all art the Devil’s work. It eats the soul.”
John Gardner, The Sunlight Dialogues

John Gardner
“Heidegger’s parlamblings on ‘Nothing’ and ‘Not’ and ‘the Nothing that Nothings’ were the last supposedly respectable gasp of classical philosophy.”
John Gardner, Mickelsson's Ghosts

John Gardner
“I had a chance. I knew I had no more than that. it's all a hero asks for.”
John Gardner, Grendel