The Art of Subtext, Charles Baxter
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The Art of Subtext
Beyond Plot

Narrator: Mike Lenz

Unabridged: 4 hr 23 min

Format: Digital Audiobook Download

Published: 03/22/2022


The Art Of series, edited by Charles Baxter, is a new series of brief books by contemporary writers on an important craft issue. Each book investigates an aspect of the craft of fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry by discussing works by authors past and present. The books in The Art Of series are not strictly manuals, but serve listeners and writers by illuminating aspects of the craft of writing that people think they already know but don't really know. The first book in The Art Of series of books on the craft of writing, fiction writer and essayist Charles Baxter's The Art of Subtext discusses and illustrates the hidden subtextual overtones and undertones in fictional works haunted by the unspoken, the suppressed, and the secreted. As Baxter notes in one essay, "A novel is not a summary of its plot but a collection of instances, of luminous specific details that take us in the direction of the unsaid and unseen." Using an array of examples from Melville and Dostoyevsky to contemporary writers Paula Fox, Edward P. Jones, and Lorrie Moore, Baxter explains how fiction writers create those visible and invisible details, how what is displayed evokes what is not displayed.