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date: 14 June 2024

Gardner, Johnlocked

Gardner, Johnlocked

  • Tanya E. C. Jarvik


John Champlin Gardner Jr., born 21 July 1933 in Batavia, New York, aptly called himself a “philosophical novelist,” but he mastered several genres. The author of nine novels, Gardner also wrote short stories, poetry, criticism, translations, screenplays, libretti, and children's books. His polemic On Moral Fiction (1978) brought him brief notoriety, but it also lessened subsequent critical interest in his work. He believed that writers have a moral responsibility to their audience and that all good art is instructive; he criticized many of his contemporaries, claiming that their work failed to meet his standards. In his own fiction, whether he was writing in “fabulist” or “realist” mode, Gardner attempted to practice what he preached: his short stories and novels go through a process of testing for truths, making life into art, and demonstrating the importance of love and the value of human community.


  • North American Literatures

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