Living by Fiction and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
$5.62
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Used condition, book is fulfilled by Amazon.
Add to Cart
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

Living by Fiction Paperback – Bargain Price, July 20, 1988


See all 9 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from Collectible from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback, Bargain Price, July 20, 1988
$3.60 $1.56

This is a bargain book and quantities are limited. Bargain books are new but could include a small mark from the publisher and an Amazon.com price sticker identifying them as such. Details


Special Offers and Product Promotions


If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 69%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.


Big Spring Books
Editors' Picks in Spring Releases
Ready for some fresh reads? Browse our picks for Big Spring Books to please all kinds of readers.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Revised edition (July 20, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060915447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060915445
  • ASIN: B003A02YA6
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,639,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Living by Fiction is a stimulating book, one of those in which quality of thought and felicity of prose seem consequences of one another." -- Vance Bourjaily, New York Times Book Review

"Everyone who timidly, bombastically, reverently, scholastically--even fraudulently--essays to 'live the life of the mind' should read this book. It's elegant and classy, like caviar and champagne, and like these two items, it's over much too soon." -- Carolyn See, Los Angeles Times

"Stimulating." -- -- New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Annie Dillard is the author of ten books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winner Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, as well as An American Childhood, The Living, and Mornings Like This. She is a member of the Academy of Arts and Letters and has received fellowship grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Born in 1945 in Pittsburgh, Dillard attended Hollins College in Virginia. After living for five years in the Pacific Northwest, she returned to the East Coast, where she lives with her family.

More About the Author

Annie Dillard is the author of ten books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winner Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, as well as An American Childhood, The Living, and Mornings Like This. She is a member of the Academy of Arts and Letters and has received fellowship grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Born in 1945 in Pittsburgh, Dillard attended Hollins College in Virginia. After living for five years in the Pacific Northwest, she returned to the East Coast, where she lives with her family.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
5 star
7
4 star
2
3 star
2
2 star
2
1 star
0
See all 13 customer reviews
What is sufficient and valuable is that the art object presents the reader with an interpretation.
Jon Linden
When I was a student at the University of Iowa, studying poetry writing in the Undergraduate Poetry Workshop, Marvin Bell read an excerpt from this book.
Tale-wagger
She's read everything; she sees the connections between this obscure novel and that brilliant short story.
adorian

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jon Linden VINE VOICE on October 21, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Living By Fiction" is in essence a treatise by Annie Dillard that attempts to interpret art, and thereby includes fiction as art, and as an interpretation. The book is well constructed and the sentences are beautifully crafted. The treatise starts by discussing in vast detail, the styles and forms of writing. Then it concentrates on "modernistic" fiction. This type of fiction takes numerous and varied forms.

Annie distinguishes between styles of writing. She does this very much by example. She uses the work of many, many authors as her examples and illustrations of the different manners in which a writer can craft a work. Specifically, she describes works of fiction. After detailing these different styles and their characteristics, she then turns to the purpose of fiction as a subcategory of art.

She posits that art is an interpretation. It is the artist's perspective on the relationship between something in the universe and a representation of that vision of the item. Her analysis inevitably leads her to state that art and religion are the modes by which people explain and interpret the unexplainable. Art produces an interpretation of a vision that is meant for others to see.

The interpretation, interestingly enough, is in fact non-existent without the reader and the critic to observe. While opining that fiction needs readers and critics to be interpreted, the interpretation is the very purpose of the creation. Without the reader and the critic, the work does not really exist. It exists in form, but not in value. The work is a creation that only carries a message if someone reads it; and more so if someone such as a critic helps us to interpret it.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 2, 1998
Format: Paperback
I thought Ms. Dillard distinguished herself with this literary piece of literary criticism. She got into some pretty deep and convoluted places with this book, but I felt that every point was well-made and well-taken. I feel the book is an education in itself. Loved it!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John P. Jones III TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
... the subject phrase grates like chalk pulled across an English classroom's black board. At least for me. It conjures up images of writing critical papers on a school-assignment novel, struggling with concepts like symbolism, and at more advanced levels, "deconstructionism." All in an effort to get the "right" answer, which was how the teacher wanted us to "see" a particular novel. I still remember giving a verbal "book report" to the class on Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell (P.S.), and the "right" answer was to assure the teacher that drug use was bad. In the sciences the "right" answer seemed to come easier, and certainly more objectively. Which was why I only "had" to take two years of English in college, which may be a key reason why I still read.

Annie Dillard is best known to me for her excellent Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (Harper Perrennial Modern Classics) and An American Childhood. My appreciation of these works helped me overcome my natural aversion to the "subject" of literature. And I was richly rewarded. She wrote this book almost 30 years ago, when she was about 35, and just her erudition is dazzling (and humbling). Not only had she read so many of the major and minor contemporary writers, but she can deftly compare their strengths and weaknesses. There is Carlos Fuentes, Marcel Proust, James Agee, Nabokov, Borges and on and on. As she says in the introduction, she "...attempts to do unlicensed metaphysics in a teacup.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Knox on March 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
I'm a fan of Annie Dillard. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is one of my favorites. Living by Fiction is just as sharp, just as honest, and yet it's less curious, less humble. I found Dillard's investigation into the meaning of literary art rather dry and shallow. She sought out the most exemplary in literature: Nabokov, Borges, Marquez, and asks what makes contemporary art work. How does she conclude? Basically with an existential shrug of the shoulders. I was often chastised in graduate school for writing a research paper with too large a thesis, and although at the time I disagreed, now I understand exactly what my professors meant. I finished this book with little more than a bunch of loose juxtapositions. Meanwhile, Dillard's sparkling style will cause me to go back to her again and again. Her writing is always enjoyable to read. Even when the content is lacking.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By adorian on April 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
Did you ever read the essays of Susan Sontag and suffer the realization that she knows everything and you know nothing? I had the same reaction to this slim volume of essays about literature by Annie Dillard, whose prose-poetic writings about small nature moments are dazzlingly brilliant.

I had trouble getting through these essays. She sent me to the dictionary too often. "Rondure"? She uses it at least four times, maybe five. "Neotenous," "basal," "excursus," "hadron...." Okay, my fault for not knowing these words ahead of time. In college, I used "obtain" in a paper as an intransitive verb, and the professor circled it and wrote that I shouldn't use it..."too pretentious" was his criticism. Imagine my amusement to find it throughout this slim volume....five times on page 180! I'll say, then, that the word "rondure" obtains in these essays. Proceed at your own risk.

There is a lot of heavy thought going on here. She's read everything; she sees the connections between this obscure novel and that brilliant short story. I get the feeling that she doesn't read for pleasure; she reads in order to write something intensely profound about it because only she understands. She mentions a lot of writers of whom I've never heard (Thomas M. Disch, Stanislaw Lem, Witold Gombrowicz, Michael Ondaatje). This is my failing, and I have drawn up a reading list. I will seek them out. But Dillard's implication is that I'm not smart enough to read them (much less appreciate them) at the high intellectual level she thinks and works at.

If you want a real challenge, read this volume. But keep a dictionary handy.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Product Images from Customers

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search
ARRAY(0xa6dca4ec)

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?