​To return one last time to the image of Thor’s hammer with which I launched all this, it strikes outward at the trolls, or inward when the trolls have made incursions, not blindly in all directions. It smashes to construct. Most artists will no doubt claim they do just that, and most critic’s will no doubt claim that they praise only artists who, in one way or another, fight for the good. Some artists and critics tell the truth; some lie. The business of civilization is to pay attention, remembering what is central, remembering that we live or die by the artist’s vision, sane or cracked.

– John Gardner, On Moral Fiction (1978)


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