Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Updike at Rest

Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist John Updike, who became famous not only as a result of his remarkable writing but because he exposed “suburban adultery” in his fiction, has died of lung cancer. He was 76 years old.

As the Associated Press reports today:
A literary writer who frequently appeared on best-seller lists, the tall, hawk-nosed Updike wrote novels, short stories, poems, criticism, the memoir “Self-Consciousness” and even a famous essay about baseball great Ted Williams. He was prolific, even compulsive, releasing more than 50 books in a career that started in the 1950s. Updike won virtually every literary prize, including two Pulitzers, for “Rabbit Is Rich” and “Rabbit at Rest,” and two National Book Awards. ...

His settings ranged from the court of “Hamlet” to postcolonial Africa, but his literary home was the American suburb. Born in 1932, Updike spoke for millions of Depression-era readers raised by “penny-pinching parents,” united by “the patriotic cohesion of World War II” and blessed by a “disproportionate share of the world’s resources,” the postwar, suburban boom of “idealistic careers and early marriages.”

He captured, and sometimes embodied, a generation’s confusion over the civil rights and women’s movements, and opposition to the Vietnam War.
Updike was the author most recently of The Widows of Eastwick, which reached U.S. bookstores in October of last year and was a sequel to his much-talked-about 1984 novel, The Witches of Eastwick. His other works include Couples (1968, which inspired Time’s April 26, 1968, cover story on “The Adulterous Society”), Memories of the Ford Administration (1992), The Early Stories: 1953-1975 (2003) and the more controversial Terrorist (1976).

READ MORE:John Updike Dies Aged 76,” by Jason Szep (Reuters); “One Reader Who Won’t Be Reading My Blog Today,” by David Terrenoire (A Dark Planet); “John Updike Dies,” by Patti Abbott (Pattinase); “John Updike’s Life and Work,” by David Lipsky (Salon); “John Updike, 1932-2009,” by David Hudson (The Daily, IFC).



Blogger Stephen Miller said...

I am struck by the passing of Updike, and of Andrew Wyeth last week. I can't help but draw parallels to these men. Both were of Pennsylvania stock with strong New England influences, were prolific, master technicians in their craft and enjoyed much more popular than critical success, particularly in their later years. I suspect the stock of both will rise in the years to come.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 4:20:00 PM PST  

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