John Hoyer Updike – USA (1932 – 2009)

John Hoyer Updike (March 18, 1932 – January 27, 2009) was an American novelist, poet, short story writer, art critic, and literary critic. Updike’s most famous work is his Rabbit series (Rabbit, Run; Rabbit Redux; Rabbit Is Rich; Rabbit At Rest; and Rabbit Remembered). Both Rabbit is Rich and Rabbit at Rest received the Pulitzer Prize.  Describing his subject as “the American small town, Protestant middle class,” Updike was widely recognized for his careful craftsmanship, his highly stylistic prose, and his prolific output, having published more than twenty novels and more than a dozen short story collections, as well as poetry, art criticism, literary criticism and children’s books. Hundreds of his stories, reviews, and poems appeared in The New Yorker, starting in 1954. He also wrote regularly for The New York Review of Books. His work attracted a significant amount of critical attention and he was considered one of the most prominent contemporary American novelists.  Updike died, aged 76, of lung cancer on January 27, 2009 … (full long text).

Further on wikipedia: his career, his obituaries.

… John Updike was a legend among poets, writers and literary critics. Updike won two Pulitzer Prizes for his work on the Rabbit series. And he regularly wrote for the New York Times and the New York Times book review. He was a thoughtful, enlightening and creative mastermind. Let’s remember his March 18th birth with these inspiring 12 John Updike quotes: … (full text, March 9, 2009).



John Hoyer Updike – USA (1932 – 2009)

American author John Updike, a leading writer of his generation who chronicled the emotional drama of American small-town life with searing wit and vivid prose, has died of lung cancer. He was 76. “It is with great sadness that I report that John Updike died this morning,” said Nicholas Latimer of Alfred A Knopf, a unit of Random House. “He was one of our greatest writers, and he will be sorely missed.” Updike died in a hospice in Massachusetts, the state where he lived for many years … (full text, ).

Watch these videos:

… While John Updike was working at becoming an American literary giant, he took time out to write a historical pageant of the place he called home in 1968, Ipswich. “Three Texts From Early Ipswich: A Pageant” was first performed Aug. 3, 1968, at the South Parish Church. It was part of an annual celebration called 17th Century Day, which residents had for many years observed by parading dressed in period costumes.
The church burned down, and 17th Century Day is now Olde Ipswich Days, a decidedly more commercial celebration than its predecessor. 375th Committee Chairman Nat Pulsifer said the pageant has been staged periodically over the years. He wrote Updike last fall for permission to put it on once again … (full text, March 07, 2009).

… I’ve never connected John Updike and Paul Harvey before, but will do so now. Both came approximately from the same era, and Updike’s perfectly pitched prose reached a New Yorker audience as deftly as Paul Harvey’s genial stories attracted those who had never heard of the New Yorker, and wouldn’t have read it if they had … (full text, March 4, 2009).

John Updike in pictures: on The Guardian; on New York Social Diary; on John Updike, 1966; on John Updike in Cincinnati 2001; on Google Images-search.

In his autobiography Self-Consciousness, a “big-bellied Lutheran God” within the young John Updike looked on in contempt as he struggled to give up cigarettes. Many years later the older Updike, now giving up on alcohol, coffee, and salt, put into the mouth of that God the words of Frederick the Great excoriating his battle-shy soldiers—”Dogs, would you live forever?” But all the life-enhancing substances were set aside, and writing became Updike’s “sole remaining vice. It is an addiction, an illusory release, a presumptuous taming of reality.” In the mornings, he could write “breezily” of what he could not “contemplate in the dark without turning in panic to God” … (full text, March 12, 2009).

… After many years of admiration for John Updike’s abundant creativity, I took the bold step and wrote him a note expressing my pleasure with his memoir, Self-Consciousness. To my astonishment, he promptly replied, using a dirty-keyed old fashioned typewriter: “I am happy you found so much to recognize in Self-Consciousness; our generation, which tended to slip between wars and cultural upheavals, still has a story to tell and a song to sing.” He then told me about his high school and how his town had changed … (full text, March 10, 2009).

Reading is required for any John Updike pilgrimage. That’s not “reading,” as in books, but Reading, as in Pennsylvania. It seems you can’t go a block in this city of about 83,000 without running into one of the author’s old stomping grounds or a scene from one of his books, where often the city is named Alton or Brewer … (full text, February 22, 2009).

Find him and his publications on ;
on Pegasos; on ;
on wikipedia/bibliography; on Google Video-search; on Google Group-search; on inauthor Google-search; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Blog-search, and all Google News-results.

… I found this poem with the image and notes at the CRS Archives – hosted by the CRS Center for Leadership and Management in the Design and Construction Industry … of all places to find an Updike poem! The first four lines of this poem also appear in the central story of a short story triptych, “The Blessed Man of Boston, My Grandmother’s Thimble, and Fanning Island,” written in the spring of 1961, or so I have from pages 75-76 of William H. Pritchard’s Updike biography, Updike: America’s Man of Letters (2005). Wes Davis, however, informs us that the full poem was written in 1954. I’m curious where CRS obtained it, for the CRS Archives provide the late date 1969, and seem to imply that the image comes from Updike’s own hand … (full text, February 28, 2009).

… Before Rabbit, Run, I’d never managed to get through a whole John Updike novel. I tried The Witches Of Eastwick, but I gave up after 50 pages; the prose was too meandering, and the characters too flatly hateful to hold my interest. The only real notion I had of Updike was that I always got him confused with John Steinbeck, enough so that when Updike passed away a couple of months ago, I was briefly amazed that the author of Grapes Of Wrath had lived to see our remake of the Great Depression. After I came to my senses, I had that impression I always get when an unfamiliar writer dies—that of a deadline missed, or an assignment dropped … (full text, March 6, 2009).

… “Updike’s hallmark was his glittering, gloriously vivid style,” writes Lev Grossman for Time. “His talent for spotting detail, for capturing the slightest shift in light or in a character’s mood in prose was unmatched. It was not the most fashionable of gifts – while his contemporaries practiced the rock-ribbed realism of Hemingway and Carver, or the high-concept contraptions of the Metafictionists, Updike conducted his pursuit of eloquence and wit almost alone” … (full text, Jan 27, 2009).

John Updike was one of the very first authors to really inspire me to write with his story “A&P” and while his passing wasn’t a surprise (he was 75 and had lung cancer), it most certainly was saddening. The Boston Globe has an excellent “life in pictures” slideshow featuring Updike that is definitely worth checking out; click here to be transported. The man was prolific and one of the very few literary fiction authors to support himself solely with his writing. (on bookish, March 4, 2009).

… But Rabbit Angstrom drove a Toyota and read Consumer Reports, like many of the adults I knew. (My parents were Ford and Time people.) He worried about the state of the world, but from the perspective of a guy having a beer after mowing the lawn. Some of Rabbit’s worries were Updike’s attempts to capture the zeitgeist. Others were prescient. Rabbit says early in the novel, “I figure oil’s going to run out about the same time I do, the year two thousand. Seems funny to say it, but I’m glad I lived when I did. These kids coming up, they’ll be living on table scraps. We had the meal”. As I made my way through Updike’s novels and short stories, I encountered again and again places as drab and commonplace as those I inhabited, yet rendered with a voice both lyrical and knowing. Updike created worlds that were perfectly ordinary and charged with meaning, and, in fleeting moments, with beauty. His was an exquisite sensibility at home in the mundane, a position that struck me, in my early adulthood, with existential force … (full text, January 28, 2009).


BOOK GROUPIE: Authors share their favorites, March 6, 2009;

The Quest to Put the World’s Information Online, March 07, 2009;

Ipswich to Honor John Updike on March 8, Feb 19, 2009;

Posthumous Literature, March 10, 2009.

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