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The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers [Anglais] [Broché]

John Gardner

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Description de l'ouvrage

4 juin 1991
This classic guide, from the renowned novelist and professor, has helped transform generations of aspiring writers into masterful writers—and will continue to do so for many years to come.  
 
John Gardner was almost as famous as a teacher of creative writing as he was for his own works. In this practical, instructive handbook, based on the courses and seminars that he gave, he explains, simply and cogently, the principles and techniques of good writing. Gardner’s lessons, exemplified with detailed excerpts from classic works of literature, sweep across a complete range of topics—from the nature of aesthetics to the shape of a refined sentence. Written with passion, precision, and a deep respect for the art of writing, Gardner’s book serves by turns as a critic, mentor, and friend. Anyone who has ever thought of taking the step from reader to writer should begin here.  

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Revue de presse

"It will fascinate anyone interested in how fiction gets put together.  For the young writer it will become a necessary handbook, a stern judge, an encouraging friend... In the first half of the book, Gardner investigated just what fiction is.  In the second half, he treats specific technical matters. The Art of Fiction is filled with lecture counsel, wise encouragement." -John L'Heureux, The New York Times Book Review

"A densely packed book of advice to all writers, not just young ones... It is serious, provocative, and funny, and I recommend it to anyone who cares about literature."- Margaret Manning, The Boston Globe

"He lays out virtually everything a person might want to know [about] how to say it, with good and bad examples and judgments falling like autumn leaves in a November storm." -William McPherson, The Washington Post

"The next best thing to graduate workshop in fiction writing. Drawing on examples from Homer to Kafka to Joyce Carol Oates, Gardner unravels the mysteries of plot, sentence structure, diction, and point of view." - Book-of-the-Month Club News

Biographie de l'auteur

John Gardner was accorded wide praise for his works of imagination, of criticism, and of scholarship.  He was born in 1933 in Batavia, New York.  Among the universities at which he taught are Oberlin, San Francisco State, Northwestern, Southern Illinois, Bennington and SUNY-Binghamton. The Art of Fiction was completed before his death in 1982.

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What the beginning writer ordinarily wants is a set of rules on what to do and what not to do in writing fiction. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index
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Amazon.com: 3.9 étoiles sur 5  92 commentaires
126 internautes sur 132 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Still relevant for writers today 22 janvier 2004
Par Debbie Lee Wesselmann - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I recently re-read this classic book on writing fiction, and found it as relevant today as it was when it was first published. Because Gardner strives for "higher art", his musings and instructions for the beginner go much deeper than ordinary how-to books. His lengthy chapter titled "Interest and Truth" gets to the heart of what fiction needs to be, whether one is writing literary fiction or a crime novel. His "Common Errors" chapter, although relatively short and sounding as basic as one can get, offers some of the best advice on how to improve one's writing, from suggestions to creating dynamic sentences to how to imbue narrative with emotion. "Technique" covers topics such as paying attention to rhythm and word choice and building narrative suspense. Although I yawned during the chapter on plot - Gardner's diagrams and attempts at describing structure were too mechanical for my tastes, I'm sure some readers will read it voraciously. Likewise, his thorough compilation of writing exercises will have some reaching eagerly for their keyboards. I found that the sections that had interested me on my first reading years ago were not the same ones that intrigued me this time, suggesting that this book can grow with the writer.
The biggest flaw in this book, and one which might drive some readers away, is Gardner's personal biases. His intense interest in myth and classics drove his fiction, and it weighs heavily in the examples he provides. Also, he favors examples from his contemporaries - Barthleme, Coover, Barth - who might not interest younger writers who read a different set of cutting edge authors. Still, you need not be familiar with Gardner's examples to understand his points, as he himself makes few assumptions about the reader/student.
Even professional writers can benefit from Gardner's reminders since a revisiting of ideas can only sharpen one's fiction. Aspiring writers will leave these pages with an eagerness to attack their own work and with a set of wise guidelines to help them achieve their best work.
206 internautes sur 227 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The best Creative Writing text book there is. 10 décembre 2003
Par JR Pinto - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I bought this book about ten years ago; it was the text book in an undergrad Creative Writing class. It wasn't until last year that I really read it. I have just finished reading it again for the second time.
I think that all of Gardner's advice for beginning writers is valid. I was shocked at the negative reviews that some other readers have posted. They find fault with Gardner because he makes reference to classic works of literature. First off, one does not have to have read EVERY book that Gardner makes reference to in order to understand his point.
What shocks me is that people seem genuinely offended that Gardner thinks that aspiring writers should read! EVERY creative writing teacher expects his students to read as much good literature as possible. Why is this? Because IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO BE A GOOD WRITER UNLESS ONE IS WELL READ. You don't believe me - just ask Stephen King. If you are offended that Gardner expects you to be familiar with names like Hemmingway and Faulkner, you should be ashamed of yourself.
The elitism argument isn't even supported by the text. Sure he talks about Homer and Shakespeare, but he also comments that great writing can also be found in Spider-Man comic books and other unlikely sources. (I am comforted because the negative reviews themselves are not very well-written.)
These are dangerous times we live in. People no longer want to hear that they can't just pick up a pen and be the next Fitzgerald. And who's to say that Fitzgerald is any better than James Paterson, say? It's all relative, is it not?
It is not.
This is a book for the serious writer - for ANY writer who wishes to write better. In order to do that, one must do the work. If this book makes writing sound like a hard thing to do, that is because WRITING IS A HARD THING TO DO. If it is not, you are doing it wrong.
Gardner covers all aspects of fiction techniques: plot, style, genres, voice - everything a beginning writer NEEDS TO AT LEAST CONSIDER. If you don't like this book, find another book on the art of fiction...but I fear you will have the same reaction. Any creative writing book worth its salt will offer the same advice.
66 internautes sur 70 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Absolutely and unequivocably the best 6 juillet 2002
Par R. Tiedemann - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I wish this book didn't specify young writers in its subtitle because that's likely to turn away older writers if they haven't heard about Gardner and his books. That would be quite a loss but for Gardner and the readers.
As a published author of many book reviews as well as magazine articles and newspaper pieces, I was at a loss as to where to turn when I needed advice on writing fiction. My solution was to take a course and this book was the required reading. Otherwise I would have overlooked it since I would in no way classify myself as young.
It's simply one of the best books available, especially for those who want to write literary fiction and who care about the quality of his/her writing. Character building, plotting, vocabulary, sentence structure, style and the idea of fiction as a dream are studied in depth here. It is a book to be studied and re-studied, read and re-read, for as the reader practices writing fiction and gains more experience, there's more to be found.
At the back of the book there are exercises. These are best done in a group so that you can get the benefits of others' critiques. The concepts here are deep and often open to more than one interpretation -- those come out in a group setting.
Read carefully. Be sure you understand the subtleties of what he's saying. If you give this one a shallow reading, you're likely to misinterpret. If you do, you'll loose a lot.
I'd put this at the top of my favorites books in a list of books for writers along with Jack Bickham's, Dwight Swain's and Gary Provost's books on the craft.
28 internautes sur 29 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Sensitivity, not simplification 5 juin 2000
Par Michael Brenner - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
This is no easy read (especially for a non-native speaker like me), but it's worth the troubles. As some other reviewer mentioned the language doesn't really flow, but this in part due to the deepness of thought contained in each paragraph. You can't just scan this book in some hours (like other books on creative writing I've skimmed through); only by reading carefully and slowly (as I was obliged to by my lack of English fluency...) you will enjoy Gardner's artistic sensitivity. All right, he is a literary snob as someone wrote - but there are too many others who make art look like something that can easily be described with some simple recipes. Gardner's true love for literature shows in every sentence and it's probably exactly his meaning of literary "truth" that makes him difficult to read sometimes. Other books I've read on the topic left me with a feeling of oversimplification, of missing the point by showing just the surface of the literary process. "The art of fiction" provides what its title promisses: an inspiring introduction to the ART of WRITING. And this means that this is neither another book on the theory of literature nor some Reader's-Digest-like "How to write a novel in ten steps" but a book on the THEORY of WRITING. I do not know of any other book that shows the literary process in such a sensitive way. If you're offended by the word theory, know that the exercices at the end of the book are extremely helpful and intelligent. They shed light on practical AND conceptual problems (and possibilities!) you maybe wouldn't have thought of without doing them. Great book.
29 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 On-the-level advice for aspiring fiction writers 8 juin 1996
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
John Gardner has created an excellent resource for aspiring fiction writers who want to know how to write well. Gardner is direct in his tone, providing his readers with upfront and honest advice about what makes good fiction writing.

Gardner describes fiction as a dream world into which the writer takes the reader. His ultimate advice is to always consider the flow of the dream, and to be wary of any pitfall that might awake the reader from the story. He discusses such issues as style, grammar, plotting, and how they are necessary and contribute to excellent fiction writing.

The book closes with a series of exercises, a set for groups and a set for individuals, that provide an excellent jumping point for developing the superior writing skills that Gardner tries to teach.

Gardner's ideas are important considerations for the beginning writer, and important refreshers for the established writer. If you want to learn how to write fiction, but only want to buy one book on how to write, this is the one.
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