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Document Type

Part IV

Abstract

John Gardner's On Moral Fiction (1977) presents one of the early humanistic critiques of postmodern literature - "a literature without qualities," as Warner Berthoff (1979) ironically calls American literary art after 1945. For both Gardner and Berthoff, though the latter seems more inclined to appreciate the implications of postmodern literature, contemporary fiction is marked by a lack of "moral concern" in the humanistic sense of the term. Or, to put it in a different way, Gardner and Berthoff each comment on the ways in which the postmodern novel (as well as other literary genres) have come to undermine conventional literary, cultural, and ideological codes. Gardner distinguishes what he calls "moral fiction" from postmodern fiction by saying that "moral fiction" is not immersed solely in the subversive aesthetic of "play" (5-6) - an aestheticism, in Gardner's opinion, that undermines the dimensions of fiction and of life he finds most compelling and necessary for the continuance of a humanistic conception of culture.

Publication Date

1991

Journal Title

Draftings In

Volume

6

Issue

3

First Page

47

Last Page

50

Comments

No cover/title page date shown on piece.

Copyright

© 1991 by the Board of Student Publications, University of Northern Iowa

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

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