Books and other works by John Gardner

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Books of Fiction and Poetry
Children’s Books
Opera, Libretti, Plays
Nonfiction Books
Separately Published Interviews
Uncollected Essays

The following list, compiled in 2004, offers first edition information for significant publications by John Gardner. It does not include the many interviews, several uncollected short stories, letters to magazines or newspapers, “blurbs,” cartoons, and some arguably minor texts. It also doesn’t include many of Gardner’s dramatic works, for which the best list, compiled by Jan Quackenbush, is available online.

For more thorough bibliographic resources, see: John Howell’s John
Gardner: A Bibliographic Profile
, which contains bibliographic information for most editions of Gardner’s texts (later updated by Robert Morace and Lee T. Hamilton); Lee T. Hamilton’s “A Bibliographic Update” in John Gardner: True Art, Moral Art; and Howell’s Understanding John Gardner, which contains a very useful character index.

The definitive resource for secondary sources, also containing the most complete list of Gardner’s interviews and speeches, is Robert Morace’s John Gardner: An Annotated Secondary Bibliography, notable especially for its comprehensive bibliography of reviews of Gardner’s work and news items.


The Old Men. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms, 1959.

Books of Fiction and Poetry (in chronological order of publication)

The Resurrection. New York: New American Library, 1966.1

The Wreckage of Agathon. New York: Harper and Row, 1970.

Grendel. New York: Knopf, 1971.

The Sunlight Dialogues. New York: Knopf, 1972.

Jason and Medeia. New York: Knopf, 1973.

Nickel Mountain: A Pastoral Novel. New York: Knopf, 1973.

The King’s Indian: Stories and Tales. New York: Knopf, 1974.2

October Light. New York: Knopf, 1976.3

PoemsNorthridge, Calif.: Lord John Press, 1978.

Vlemk the Box-Painter. Northridge Calif., Lord John P, 1979.4

Freddy’s Book. New York: Knopf, 1980.

The Art of Living and Other Stories. New York: Knopf, 1981.5

Mickelsson’s Ghosts. New York: Knopf, 1982.

Stillness and Shadows. Ed. Nicholas Delbanco. New York: Knopf, 1986.

Children’s Books

A Child’s Bestiary. New York: Knopf, 1977.6

Dragon, Dragon and Other Tales. New York: Knopf, 1975.7

Gudgekin the Thistle Girl and Other Tales. New York: Knopf, 1976.8

In the Suicide Mountains. New York: Knopf, 1977.9

The King of the Hummingbirds and Other Tales. New York: Knopf, 1977.10

Opera, Libretti, Plays

Rumpelstiltskin. Dallas: New London P, 1978.

Frankenstein. Dallas: New London P, 1979.

The Temptation Game. Dallas: New London P, 1979.

William Wilson. Dallas: New London P, 1979.

Death and the Maiden. Dallas: New London P., 1980.


The Alliterative Morte Arthure The Owl and the Nightingale and Five Other Middle English Poems in a Modernized Version with Comments on the Poems and Notes. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1971.

The Complete Works of the Gawain-Poet in a Modern English Version with a Critical Introduction by John Gardner. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1965.

Gilgamesh. Trans. John Gardner and John Maier. New York: Knopf, 1984.

Tengu Child: Stories by Kikuo Itaya. Ed. and Trans. John Gardner and Nobuko Tsukui. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1971.

Nonfiction Books

The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers. New York: Knopf, 1984.

The Construction of the Wakefield Cycle. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1974

The Forms of Fiction. Ed. Lennis Dunlap and John Gardner New York: Random House, 1962.

The Gawain Poet. Cliff’s Notes. Lincoln: Cliff’s Notes, 1967.

Le Morte Darthur. Cliff’s Notes. Lincoln: Cliff’s Notes, 1967.

The Life and Times of Chaucer. New York: Knopf, 1977.

MSS: A Retrospective. Ed. John Gardner and Liz M. Rosenberg. Dallas: New London P, 1980.

On Becoming a Novelist. New York: Harper & Row, 1983.

On Moral Fiction. New York: Basic Books, 1978.

On Writers and Writing. Intro. Charles Johnson. Reading: Addison Wesley, 1994.11

The Poetry of Chaucer. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1977.

Separately Published Interviews

Chavkin, Allen, ed. Conversations with John Gardner. Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 1990. 12

Renwick, Joyce, and Howard Smith. John Gardner: An Interview. Dallas: New London P, 1980.

Uncollected Essays (incomplete)

“Fulgentius’s Expositio Vergiliana Continentia and the Plan of Beowulf: Another Approach to the Poem’s Style and Structure.” Papers on Language and Literature 6 (1970): 227-62.

“Learning from Disney and Dickens.” New York Times Book Review 30 Jan. 1983: 3, 22-23.

“Signs, Symbols, and Cancellations.” Signs and Symbols in Chaucer’s Poetry. Ed. John P. Hermann and John J. Burke. University: U of Alabama P, 1981. 195-207.


1 The Resurrection is more readily available in paperback. Scholars should note, however, that Gardner revised this edition (New York: Bantam, 1974).

2 The King’s Indian and Other Tales contains five stories in “Book One: The Midnight Reader”: “Pastoral Care,” “The Ravages of Spring,” “The Temptation of St. Ivo,” ” The Warden,” and “John Napper Sailing Through the Universe.” “Book Two: Tales of Queen Louisa” is comprised of “Queen Louisa,” King Gregor and the Fool,” and “Muriel” (for a short story closely related to the “Queen Louisa” tales, see “Trumpeter” in The Art of Living and Other Stories“). “Book Three” is “The King’s Indian,” a short novel.

3 October Light contains a novel-within-the-novel, “The Smuggler’s of Lost Soul’s Rock,” which Gardner claims in his preface to October Light was written in collaboration with Joan Gardner.

4 The story also appears in The Art of Living and Other Stories.

5 The Art of Living contains: “Nimram,” “Redemption,” “Stillness,” “The Music Lover,” “Trumpeter” (see “Book Two: Tales of Queen Louisa” in The King’s Indian: Stories and Tales” for related tales), “The Library Horror,” “The Joy of the Just,” “Vlemk the Box Painter,” “Come on Back,” and “The Art of Living.”

6 A Child’s Bestiary includes contributions from Joel and Lucy Gardner.

7 Dragon, Dragon and Other Tales contains the title story and three other tales: _, “The Miller’s Mule,” and __.

8 The four stories found in Gudgekin the Thistle Girl and Other Tales are the title story, “The Griffin and the Old Philosopher,” “The Shape-Shifters of Shorm” and “The Sea Gulls.”

9 The debate on whether In the Suicide Mountains is a children’s story or a short novel for adults–or both–will likely not soon be resolved. Rumpelstiltskin is also ambiguous in this way.

10 The King of the Hummingbirds and Other Tales contains the title story
and three other tales: “The Witch’s Wish,” “The Pear Tree” and “The Gnome and the Dragons.”

11 On Writers and Writing contains a variety of primary, mostly reprinted sources. Its contents and credits are as follows:

“Introduction” by Charles Johnson.

“‘Bartleby’: Art and Social Commitment” (Philological Quarterly, Jan. 1964).

“An Invective Against Mere Fiction” (Southern Review, Spring 1977).

“More Smog from the Dark Satanic Mills” (Southern Review, Winter 1969).

“Witchcraft in Bullet Park, by John Cheever” (New York Times Book Review, Oct. 24, 1971).

Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll” (New York Times Book Review, Jan. 30, 1972).

The Breast, by Philip Roth” (New York Times Book Review, Sep 17, 1972).

“The Way We Write Now” (New York Times Book Review, July 9, 1972).

“Saint Walt” (New York, Nov. 12, 1973).

The Adventurer, by Paul Zweig” (New York Times Book Review, December 22, 1974).

Beyond the Bedroom Wall, by Larry Woiwode” (New York Times Book Review, Sep. 28, 1975).

“Amber (Get) Waves (Your) of (Plastic) Grace (Uncle Sam)” (New York Times, Oct. 29, 1976).

JR, by William Gaddis” (New York Review of Books, June 10, 1976).

The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights, by John Steinbeck” (New York Times Book Review, Oct. 24, 1976).

Lancelot, by Walker Percy” (New York Times Book Review, Feb. 20, 1977).

Falconer, by John Cheever” (Saturday Review, Apr. 2, 1977).

The Castle of Crossed Destinies, by Italo Calvino” (New York Times Book Review, Apr. 10, 1977).

Daniel Martin, by John Fowles” (Saturday Review, Oct. 1, 1977).

The Silmarillion, by J. R. R. Tolkein” (New York Times Book Review, October 23, 1977).

The Stories of John Cheever” (Chicago Tribune Book World, Oct. 22, 1978).

Dubin’s Lives, by Bernard Malamud” (Washington Post Book World, Feb. 25, 1979).

Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron” (New York Times Book Review, May 27, 1979).

“A Writer’s View of Contemporary American Fiction” (Dismisura, 1980).

Bellefleur, by Joyce Carol Oates” (New York Times Book Review, July 20, 1980).

Italian Folktales, edited by Italo Calvino” (New York Times Book Review, Oct. 12, 1982). “Fiction in MSS” (MSS, Spring 1981).

“What Writers Do” (Antareus, Winter/Spring 1981).

“Cartoons” (New York Times Book Review, Jan. 30, 1983).

“Julius Caesar and the Werewolf” (Playboy, September 1984).

“General Plan for The Sunlight Dialogues” (from the Gardner Archive, University of Rochester,  ca. 1971).

12Conversations with John Gardner contains the following interviews;

“Medievalist in Illinois Ozarks.” Digby Diehl. Chavkin 3-5. Reprint of Los Angeles Times Calendar 5 September 1971: 43.

“John Gardner.” Joe David Bellamy and Pat Ensworth. Chavkin 6-27. Reprint of Fiction International 2-3 (1974): 32-49. Reprint of The New Fiction: Interviews with Innovative American Writers. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1974.

“Conversations with John Gardner on Writers and Writing.” John Askins. Chavkin 28-33. Reprint of Detroit Free Press/Detroit Magazine 23 March 1975: 19-21. Reprint of Authors in the News. Ed. Barbara Nykoruk. Detroit: Gale Research, 1976. 168-69

“Our Best Novelist: He Thinks So, Too.” Larry Swindell. Chavkin 34-39. Reprint of Philadelphia Inquirer 16 Jan. 1977: F1+.

“A Conversation with John Gardner.” Don Edwards and Carol Polsgrove. Chavkin 40-49. Reprint of Atlantic 239 (May 1977): 43-47.

“A Conversation with John Gardner.” Charlie Reilly. Chavkin 50-83. Expanded reprint of Classical and Modern Literature: A Quarterly 1.2 (1981): 91-108.

“Where Philosophy and Fiction Meet: An Interview with John Gardner.” Marshall L. Harvey. Chavkin 84-98. Reprint of Chicago Review 29 (1978): 73-87.

“An Interview with John Gardner.” Roni Natov and Geraldine DeLuca. Chavkin 99-116. Reprint of The Lion and the Unicorn 2.1 (1978): 114-36.

“John Gardner.” Heide Ziegler. Chavkin 117-42. Reprint of The Radical Imagination and the Liberal Tradition: Interviews with English and American Novelists. Ed. Heide Ziegler and Christopher Bigsby. London: Junction, 1982. 126-50.

“John Gardner: The Art of Fiction LXXIII.” Paul F. Ferguson, John R. Maier, Frank McConnell, and Sara Matthiessen. Chavkin 143-71. Reprint of Paris Review 21 (1979):36-74.

“William Gass and John Gardner: A Debate on Fiction.” Thomas LeClair. Chavkin 172-82. Reprint of New Republic 180 (10 March 1979): 25, 28-33. Reprint in Leclair and McCaffery, ed. Anything Can Happen: Interviews with Contemporary American Authors Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1983. 20-31.

“An Interview with John Gardner.” Ed Christian. Chavkin 183-203. Reprint of Prairie Schooner 54.4 (1980/81): 70-93.

“Interview with John Gardner.” Greg L. Morris. Chavkin 204-11. 22 February 1979,

“John Gardner: Considerations . . ..” Marshall L. Harvey. Chavkin 212-19. Reprint of The Crescet 42 (September 1979): 1922

“The Sound and the Fury over Fiction.” Stephen Singular. Chavkin 220-34. Reprint of New York Times Magazine 8 July 1979: 13-15+

“An Interview with John Gardner.” Judson Mitcham and William Richard. Chavkin 235-51. Reprint of New Orleans Review 8 (Summer 1991): 124-33.

“Interview with John Gardner.” English Department of Pan American University. Chavkin 252-70. Reprint of John Gardner: True Art, Moral Art. Ed. Beatrice Mendez-Egle and James M. Haule. Living Author Series 5. Edinburg, Texas: Pan American University, 1983.

“Gardner’s Ghosts.” Stephen Wigler. Chavkin 271-81. Reprint of Rochester Democrat and Chronicle/Upstate Magazine 11 July 1982: 15-20.

“John Gardner, Flat Out.” Curt Suplee. Chavkin 282-90. Reprint of Washington Post 25 July 1992: H1+.

“John Gardner’s Last Interview.” Bruce Beans. Chavkin 291-303. Reprint of Today: The Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine 17 October 1982: 1+.

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