We Need More of This Sort of Fiction

On the other hand, mountains of unspeakable books, paintings, symphonies, and so on, have been dumped on long-suffering humanity in recent years because mediocre critics have wrongly claimed for them astute perceptions of the problems of, for instance, blacks and women. One might suppose such a vogue would at least help true art on the same subjects; but not so. A really good book or painting concerning black or women is as hard to sell now as it ever was. True art is too complex to reflect the party line. Art that tries hard to tell the truth unretouched is difficult and often offensive. It tears down our heroes and heart-warming convictions, violates canons of politeness and humane compromise.

– John Gardener, On Moral Fiction, 15.

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