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January 28, 2009

John Updike

John Updike has died. Updike was perhaps the best American novelist of his generation who did not get the Nobel for Literature: the Pulitzer, yes, but Updije missed out on the big one.

Here's part of an obituary for John Updike:

John Updike once described himself as a literary spy within average, supermarket America. As a chronicler of the financially and sexually liberated middle classes, he had few peers: the novels in his so-called “Rabbit” saga paint as intricate a portrait of a generation as any to be found in an American novel.

Though he found a lifelong home in the sleek metropolitan pages of The New Yorker, Updike remained most at ease in the small-town atmosphere of New England where he grew up and spent most of his life. In his haunting memoir Self-Consciousness he half-jokingly identifies “smart” New York audiences as one of the groups prone to bring on his recurrent stammer.

Yet he was anything but provincial in his vocation. His prose could be Proustian in its complexity — to the extent that some critics, suspicious of his prolific output, accused him of burrowing too deep into his thesaurus. His prose registered tiny changes of fashion and mood that signified the shifting of society’s tectonic plates, and his expression was often wryly exquisite or comically precise, sometimes a gentle form of bitching about the foibles of his whole generation — from which he certainly did not spare himself. But in the 1980s the generation of short-story writers led by Raymond Carver, who was famously sparing with subordinate clauses, made Updike’s work look a little too much like the work of a jeweller.

There's a lot more about him available in the papers today. Here's a selection of stories if you want more information on him and his novels.

John Updike dies at 76; Pulitzer-winning author
Los Angeles Times - CA,USA
By Mary Rourke John Updike, the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction whose novels and short stories exposed an undercurrent of ambivalence and ...

Updike penned famous essay on Fenway Park
USA Today - USA
BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Red Sox joined in mourning the death of Pulitzer Prize-winning writer John Updike, who in a famous essay once described Fenway Park ...

Totally Random: John Updike, Ted Williams, Shaq
Los Angeles Times - CA,USA
Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist John Updike, who died Tuesday, was a baseball fan pure and simple. Anyone doubting the depth of his feelings for the game ...

For better or worse, John Updike produced a nearly endless stream ...
Los Angeles Times - CA,USA
But for me, the lasting image of John Updike, who died yesterday of lung cancer at age 76, is as a self-described "freelancer," who produced a nearly ...

John Updike's Benaroya Hall talk was one of his last
Seattle Post Intelligencer - USA
By JOHN MARSHALL About two months ago, John Updike charmed a sold-out Benaroya Hall during an appearance at Seattle Arts & Lectures. ...

A Sampler of John Updike’s Prose
New York Times - United States
We recently had a carpenter build a few things in our house in the country. It’s an old house, leaning away from the wind a little; its floors sag gently, ...

Acclaimed author John Updike, dead at 76
Newsday - Long Island,NY,USA
BY DAN CRYER | Special to Newsday John Updike, the prolific, critically acclaimed bard of America's suburban middle class, died yesterday at 76. ...

Some works by John Updike
New Mexican - Santa Fe,NM,USA
| AP On Sunday, Super Bowl XLIII kicks off at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Fla. The stadium, which was completed in 1998, replaced Tampa Stadium, ...

NECN
Remembering the works of John Updike
NECN - Newton,MA,USA
Boston Globe arts writer Mark Feeney calls John Updike an extraordinary talent who, though his writings ranged from Africa to Brazil, -- though he was once ...
Some works by John Updike
The Associated Press
"The Poorhouse Fair," 1959 "Rabbit, Run," 1960 "The Centaur," 1963. "Of the Farm," 1965. "Couples," 1968. "Bech, a Book," 1970. "Rabbit, Redux," 1971. ...

John Updike celebrated the ordinary American
San Francisco Chronicle - CA, USA
(01-27) 19:16 PST -- John Updike, the lyrical and mordant celebrant of the postwar American mainstream, has died. For anyone drawn over and over to the ...
The Associated Press
John Updike, prize-winning writer, dead at age 76
The Associated Press
... (AP) — For readers and writers of a certain generation, it's hard to imagine that they will have to grow old, or at least older, without John Updike. ...
John Updike
Atlantic Online - USA
My entire freshman class in college was made to "read and discuss" Updike's early book The Centaur. Then, it seemed like part of the American canon. ...

January 28, 2009 in Books | Permalink

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