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John Updike

John Hoyer Updike (March 18, 1932 – January 27, 2009[1]) was an American novelist, poet, short story writer, art critic, and literary critic. HP Pavilion dv7-4000eh battery

Updike's most famous work is his Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom series (the novels Rabbit, Run;Rabbit ReduxRabbit Is RichRabbit At Rest; and the novella "Rabbit Remembered"), which chronicles Rabbit's life over the course of several decades,  Asus A32-U80 battery

rom young adulthood to his death. Both Rabbit Is Rich (1981) and Rabbit At Rest (1990) received the Pulitzer Prize. Updike is one of only three authors (the others were Booth Tarkington and William Faulkner) to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction more than once.Toshiba Tecra M5 Battery

He 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 BooksSony VGP-BPS13A/S battery

Describing his subject as "the American small town, Protestant middle class", Updike was well recognized for his careful craftsmanship, his unique prose style, and his prolificness. He wrote on average a book a year. Updike populated his fiction with characters who  Sony VGP-BPS13A/S battery

"frequently experience personal turmoil and must respond to crises relating to religion, family obligations, and marital infidelity."[4] His fiction is distinguished by its attention to the concerns, passions, and suffering of average Americans;  Sony VGP-BPS8B battery

its emphasis on Christiantheology; and its preoccupation with sexuality and sensual detail. His work has attracted a significant amount of critical attention and praise, and he is widely considered to be one of the great American writers of his time.[5] Toshiba Satellite M55 Series Battery

Updike's highly distinctive prose style features a rich, unusual, sometimes arcane vocabulary as conveyed through the eyes of "a wry, intelligent authorial voice" that extravagantly describes the physical world, while remaining squarely in the realist tradition.[6] He famously described his own style as an attempt "to give the mundane its beautiful due."[7] Ibm/Lenovo Thinkpad X300 Battery


Early life and education

Updike was the only child of Wesley Russell Updike and Linda Grace Hoyer in Reading, Pennsylvania and grew up in the nearby small town Shillington.[8] The family later moved to the unincorporated village of Plowville. His mother's attempts to be a published writer influenced the young Updike's own aspirations. Dell Studio 1537 Laptop Battery

He later recalled how his mother's writing inspired him as a child. "One of my earliest memories is of seeing her at her desk ... I admired the writer's equipment, the typewriter eraser, the boxes of clean paper. And I remember the brown envelopes that stories would go off in — and come back in."[9] Dell Latitude C640 AC Adapter/Charger


These early years in Berks County, Pennsylvania, would influence the environment of the Rabbit Angstrom tetralogy, as well as many of his early novels and short stories.[10] He graduated from Shillington High School as co-valedictorian and class president in 1950 and subsequently attended Harvard after receiving a full scholarship. HP Pavilion dm4 Laptop Battery

At Harvard, he soon became widely known among his classmates as an extremely talented and prolific contributor to the Harvard Lampoon, of which he served as president, before graduatingsumma cum laude in 1954 with a degree in English.[10] Acer Aspire 557x Battery


After graduation, he decided to become a graphic artist and attended The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art at the University of Oxford. His early ambition was to be acartoonist.[11] After returning to the United States, Updike and his family moved to New York, where he became a regular contributor to The New Yorker. This was the beginning of his writing career.[10] Acer Aspire 5052ANWXMi Battery


Career as a writer

Updike stayed at The New Yorker as a full staff writer for only two years, writing "Talk of the Town" columns and submitting poetry and short stories to the magazine. In New York, Updike wrote the poems and stories that came to fill his early books like The Carpentered Hen (1958) and The Same Door (1959). Acer Aspire 5920G AC Adapter,Charger

These works were influenced by Updike's early engagement with The New Yorker.[10] This early work also featured the influence of J. D. Salinger ("A&P"), John Cheever ("Snowing in Greenwich Village"), and the ModernistsMarcel Proust, Henry Green, James Joyce, and Vladimir Nabokov.[10] Dell XPS M1330 Battery


During this time, Updike also underwent a profound spiritual crisis. Suffering from a loss of religious faith, he began reading Søren Kierkegaard and the theologian Karl Barth. Both deeply influenced his own religious beliefs, which in turn figured prominently in his fiction.[10] Updike remained a believing Christian for the rest of his life.[12] Dell Mini 1010 Laptop Battery


Later, Updike and his family relocated to Ipswich, Massachusetts. Many commentators, including a columnist in the local Ipswich Chronicle, asserted that the fictional town ofTarbox in Couples was based on Ipswich. Updike denied the suggestion in a letter to the paper.[13] Dell Latitude D820 AC Adapter,Charger

Impressions of Updike's day-to-day life in Ipswich during the 1960s and 1970s are included in a letter to the same paper published soon after Updike's death and written by a friend and contemporary.[14] In Ipswich, Updike wrote Rabbit, Run (1960), on aGuggenheim Fellowship, and The Centaur (1963), two of his most acclaimed and famous works; the latter won the National Book Award.[15] Sony VGP-BPS8 Battery


Rabbit, Run featured Rabbit Angstrom, a former high school basketball star and middle-class paragon who would become Updike's most enduring and critically acclaimed character. Updike wrote three additional novels about him. Rabbit, Run was featured inTime's All-TIME 100 Greatest Novels.[16] HP Pavilion ZX5200 Battery


Updike's career and reputation were nurtured and expanded by his long association withThe New Yorker, which published him frequently throughout his lifetime of writing, despite the fact that he had departed the magazine's employment after only two years. HP Pavilion dv2-1000 Laptop Battery

The New Yorker, particularly in the 1930s through the 1980s, reached a wide and literate audience with emphasis on writers, artists and thinkers on the east coast, where most of its readers also resided. The magazine was for many decades one of the preeminent publishing forums for the American short story, a genre at which Updike excelled, Sony VGP-BPS13A/S Laptop Battery

and it continued to publish shorter fiction long after many other publications had ceased to express any interest. Until the 1960s, there were dozens of popular magazines which published short fiction. As magazines directed their attention to "targeted" or special interest audiences of prime interest to advertisers, HP Pavilion ZT1270 Battery

short fiction began to fall by the wayside. As the number of venues declined rapidly, the importance of appearing in The New Yorker rose. Updike's short story output found a welcome home at The New Yorker, which, in turn, introduced him to a wide and alert reading public. HP Compaq 6710b AC Adapter/Charger

In 1971, Updike published a sequel to Rabbit, Run called Rabbit Redux, his response to the 1960s; Rabbit reflected much of Updike's confusion and ambivalence towards the social and political changes that beset the United States during that time.[17] Dell Latitude E6400 Laptop Battery

In 1980 he published another novel featuring that character, Rabbit Is Rich, which won the National Book Award,[18] the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction--all three major American literary prizes. Ibm/Lenovo Thinkpad X200 Battery

The novel found "Rabbit the fat and happy owner of a Toyota dealership."[10] Updike found it difficult to end the book, because he was "having so much fun" in the imaginary county Rabbit and his family inhabited.[17] In 1990, he published the last Rabbit novel, Rabbit At Rest, in which his main character died. Dell Inspiron 1464 Laptop Battery

The novel won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Over 500 pages long, the novel is among Updike's most celebrated. In 2000, Updike included the novella "Rabbit Remembered" in his collection Licks of Love, drawing a final close to the Rabbit saga. Fujitsu Siemens LifeBook S6000 AC Adapter/Charger

His Pulitzers for the two final Rabbit novels make him one of only three writers to have won two Pulitzer Prizes for Fiction, the other two being William Faulkner and Booth Tarkington. Compaq Presario C700 AC Adapter/Charger


In 1995, Everyman's Library collected and canonized the four novels as the omnibusRabbit Angstrom, for which Updike wrote an introduction in which he described Rabbit as "a ticket to the America all around me. What I saw through Rabbit's eyes was more worth telling than what I saw through my own, though the difference was often slight."[19] Updike later called Rabbit "a brother to me, and a good friend. He opened me up as a writer."[20] Sony DSC-P5 Battery


Updike's early Olinger period was set in the Pennsylvania of his youth; it ended around 1965 with the lyrical Of the Farm. After his early novels, Updike became most famous for his chronicling infidelity, adultery, and marital unrest, especially in suburban America, HP 586006-361 Laptop Battery

and for his controversial depiction of the confusion and freedom inherent in this breakdown of social mores.[21] He once wrote that it was "a subject which, if I have not exhausted, has exhausted me." The most prominent of Updike's novels of this vein is Couples (1968),HP Compaq 6715b AC Adapter/Charger

a novel about adultery in a small fictional Massachusetts town called Tarbox. It garnered Updike an appearance on the cover of Time magazine with the headline "The Adulterous Society." Both the magazine article and, to an extent, the novel struck a chord of national concern over whether American society was abandoning all social standards of conduct in sexual matters. Acer Aspire 5920 Battery


The Maple short stories, collected in Too Far To Go (1979), reflected the ebb and flow of Updike's first marriage; "Separating" (1974) and "Here Come the Maples" (1976) related to Updike's divorce. Those stories were the basis for the television movie also called Too Far To Go, broadcast by NBC in 1979. Dell XPS M1530 AC Adapter/Charger

Two other novels from this period, A Month of Sundays(1975), the first in Updike's so-called Scarlet Letter trilogy, and Marry Me: A Romance(1976), are also meditations on suburban adultery.[10] sony VAIO PCG-SRX3E/BD Battery


The Coup (1978), a lauded novel about an African dictatorship inspired by a visit he made to Africa, found Updike working in new territory. After writing Rabbit is Rich, Updike published The Witches of Eastwick (1984), a playful novel about witches living in Rhode Island. He described it as an attempt to "make things right with my, what shall we call them, feminist detractors."[22] HP Pavilion dv5 AC Adapter/Charger

One of Updike's most popular novels, it was adapted as afilm and included on Harold Bloom's list of canonical 20th-century literature (in The Western Canon).[23] In 2008 Updike published The Widows of Eastwick, a return to the witches in their old age. It was his last published novel. Acer Travelmate 2200 AC Adapter/Charger

In 1986 he published the unconventional novel Roger's Version, the second volume of the so-called Scarlet Letter trilogy, about an attempt to prove God's existence using acomputer program. Author and critic Martin Amis called it a "near-masterpiece."[24] The novel S. (1989), uncharacteristically featuring a female protagonist, concluded Updike's reworking of Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter.[10] HP 391173-001 AC Adapter/Charger

Updike enjoyed working in series; in addition to the Rabbit novels and the Maples stories, a recurrent Updike alter ego is the moderately well-known, unprolific Jewish novelist and eventual Nobel laureate Henry Bech, chronicled in three comic short-story cycles: HP Pavilion DV6500 AC Adapter/Charger

 Bech, a Book (1970), Bech Is Back (1981) and Bech At Bay: A Quasi-Novel (1998). These stories were compiled as The Complete Henry Bech (2001) by Everyman's Library. Bech is a comical and self-conscious antithesis of Updike's own literary persona: Jewish, a World War II veteran, reclusive, and unprolific to a fault.[25] HP Compaq nx6310 AC Adapter/Charger


After the publication of the Pulitzer-winning Rabbit at Rest, Updike spent the rest of the 1990s and early 2000s publishing novels in a wide range of genres; the work of this period was frequently experimental in nature.[10] Sony VAIO PCG-NV Battery

These styles included the historical fiction ofMemories of the Ford Administration (1992), the magical realism of Brazil (1994), thescience fiction of Toward the End of Time (1997), the postmodernism of Gertrude and Claudius (2000), and the experimental fiction of Seek My Face (2002). Sony VAIO PCG-955A Battery - 4400mAh

In the midst of these, he wrote what was for him a more conventional novel, In the Beauty of the Lilies (1996), a historical saga spanning several generations and exploring themes of religion and cinema in America. It is considered the most successful novel of Updike's late career.[10] Sony NP-FH70 Battery

Some critics have predicted that the novel may be considered by posterity to be a "late masterpiece overlooked or praised by rote in its day, only to be rediscovered by another generation",[26] while others thought it overlong and depressing. HP Pavilion ZD7300 Battery

In Villages(2004), Updike returned to the familiar territory of infidelities in New England. His twenty-second novel, Terrorist (2006), the story of a fervent young extremist Muslim in New Jersey, garnered media attention but little critical praise.[10] HP Pavilion N6195 Battery

In 2003, Updike published The Early Stories, a large collection of his short fiction spanning the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s. More than 800 pages long, with over one hundred stories, it has been called "a richly episodic and lyrical Bildungsroman . . . Sony vaio VPCYB16KG/S Laptop Battery

in which Updike traces the trajectory from adolescence, college, married life, fatherhood, separation and divorce."[10] It won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction in 2004.[27] This lengthy volume nevertheless excluded several stories found in his short-story collections of the same period. Asus A31-K42 Laptop Battery


Updike worked in a wide array of genres, including fiction, poetry (most of it compiled inCollected Poems: 1953-1993, 1993), essays (collected in nine separate volumes), a play (Buchanan Dying, 1974), and a memoir (Self-Consciousness, 1989). Sony VGN-SR45H/B Laptop Battery

Updike won an array of awards, including two Pulitzer Prizes for Fiction, two National Book Awards, three National Book Critics Circle awards, both the 1989 National Medal of Artsand 2003 National Humanities Medal, and the Rea Award for the Short Story for outstanding achievement. Sony vaio VPCY11V9E Laptop Battery

The National Endowment for the Humanities selected Updike to present the 2008 Jefferson Lecture, the U.S. government's highest humanities honor; Updike's lecture was entitled "The Clarity of Things: What Is American about American Art."[28][29] Sony vaio VPCS149FJ/P Laptop Battery

Marriages and family

Updike married Mary E. Pennington, an art student at Radcliffe College, in 1953. She accompanied him to Oxford, England, where he attended art school and where their first child, Elizabeth, was born in 1955. The couple had three more children together: Sony vaio VPCS139GC/B Laptop Battery

writer David (born 1957), Michael (born 1959) and Miranda (born 1960); Updike and Pennington divorced in 1974. Updike had seven grandchildren: Trevor Leonard Updike and Sawyer Michael Updike, Michael's sons; John Anoff Cobblah and Michael Kwame Cobblah, Elizabeth's sons; Kai Daniels Freyleue and Seneca Dunn Freyleue, Miranda's sons; and Wesley Updike, David's son. Sony vaio VPCY115FGS Laptop Battery

In 1977 Updike married Martha Ruggles Bernhard, with whom he lived in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts until his death of lung cancer at a hospice in Danvers, Massachusetts, on January 27, 2009, at the age of 76.[30] Sony vaio VPCM13M1E/L Laptop Battery


Updike published eight volumes of poetry over his career, including his first book The Carpentered Hen (1958), and one of his last, the posthumous Endpoint (2009). The New Yorker published excerpts of Endpoint in its March 16, 2009 issue. Sony vaio VPCYA16EC/R Laptop Battery

Much of Updike's poetical output was recollected in Knopf's Collected Poems (1993). He wrote that "I began as a writer of light verse, and have tried to carry over into my serious or lyric verse something of the strictness and liveliness of the lesser form."[31] HP 506066-721 Battery

The poet Thomas M. Disch noted that because Updike was such a well-known novelist, his poetry "could be mistaken as a hobby or a foible"; Disch saw Updike's light verse instead as a poetry of "epigrammatical lucidity."[32] HP 506781-001 Battery

His poetry has been praised for its engagement with "a variety of forms and topics," its "wit and precision," and for its depiction of topics familiar to American readers.[31] HP HSTNN-CB86 Battery

British poet Gavin Ewart praised Updike for the metaphysical quality of his poetry and for his ability "to make the ordinary seem strange," and calls Updike one of the few modern novelists capable of writing good poetry.[33] Reading Endpoint aloud, the critic Charles McGrath claimed that he found "another, HP HSTNN-E01C Battery

deeper music" in Updike's poetry. He finds that Updike's wordplay "smoothes and elides itself", and has many subtle "sound effects."[34]John Keenan, who praised the collection Endpoint as "beautiful and poignant", HP HSTNN-XB87 Battery

notes that his poetry's engagement with "the everyday world in a technically accomplished manner seems to count against him."[35] It is possible that the literary establishment was unwilling to concede that a writer could do both poetry and fiction well. HP 586006-761 Battery


He reviewed "nearly every major writer of the 20th century and some 19th-century authors", typically in The New Yorker, always trying to make his reviews "animated."[38] He was also a champion for young writers, often making generous comparisons to his own literary heroes including Vladimir Nabokov and Marcel Proust.[39] HP 586007-121 Battery

Good reviews from Updike were often seen as a significant achievement in terms of literary reputation and even sales; some of his positive reviews helped jump-start the careers of such younger writers as Erica Jong, Thomas Mallon and Jonathan Safran Foer.[40] Bad reviews by Updike sometimes caused controversy,[41] as when in late 2008 he gave a "damning" review of Toni Morrison's novel A Mercy.[42][43] HP 586007-141 Battery

Updike was praised for his literary criticism's conventional simplicity and profundity, for being an aestheticist critic who saw literature on its own terms, and for his longtime commitment to the practice of literary criticism.[44] HP 586007-541 Battery

Much of Updike's art criticism appeared in The New York Review of Books, where he often wrote about American art.[45] His art criticism involved an aestheticism like that of his literary criticism.[44] HP 586007-851 Battery

Updike's 2008 Jefferson Lecture, "The Clarity of Things: What's American About American Art?", dealt with the uniqueness of American art from the 18th century to the 20th.[46] In the lecture he argued that American art, until the expressionist movement of the 20th century in which America declared its artistic "independence", is characterized by an insecurity not found in the artistic tradition of Europe."[28] In Updike's own words: HP 586028-321 Battery

Two centuries after Jonathan Edwards sought a link with the divine in the beautiful clarity of things, William Carlos Williams wrote in introducing his long poem Paterson that "for the poet there are no ideas but in things." No ideas but in things. HP 586028-341 Battery

The American artist, first born into a continent without museums and art schools, took Nature as his only instructor, and things as his principal study. A bias toward the empirical, toward the evidential object in the numinous fullness of its being, leads to a certain lininess, as the artist intently maps the visible in a New World that feels surrounded by chaos and emptiness.[46] HP 588178-141 Battery

Critical reputation and style

He is certainly one of the great American novelists of the 20th century.

Martin Amis[47] HP 593550-001 Battery

Updike is considered one of the greatest American fiction writers of his generation.[48] He and Toni Morrison were the most written-about living American novelists of their time.[5] He was widely praised as America's "last true man of letters",HP 593553-001 Battery

with an immense and far-reaching influence on many writers.[40] The excellence of his prose style is acknowledged even by critics skeptical of other aspects of Updike's work.[6][49] Critics emphasize his "inimitable prose style" and "rich description and language," HP 593554-001 Battery

often favorably compared toProust and Nabokov.[6] Some critics consider the fluency of his prose to be a fault, questioning the intellectual depth and thematic seriousness of his work given the polish of his language and the perceived lightness of his themes, while others criticized Updike formisogynistic depictions of women and sexual relationships.[6] HP 593562-001 Battery

Other critics argue that Updike's "dense vocabulary and syntax functions as a distancing technique to mediate the intellectual and emotional involvement of the reader."[6] On the whole, however, Updike is extremely well regarded as a writer who mastered many genres, wrote with intellectual vigor and a powerful prose style, with "shrewd insight into the sorrows, frustrations, and banality of American life."[6] HP HSTNN-CB0W Battery


Updike's character Rabbit Angstrom, the protagonist of the series of novels widely considered his magnum opus, has been said to have "entered the pantheon of signal American literary figures," along with Huckleberry Finn, Jay Gatsby, Holden Caulfield and others.[50] HP HSTNN-CB0X Battery

A 2002 list by Book magazine of the 100 Best Fictional Characters Since 1900 listed Rabbit in the top five.[51] The Rabbit novels, the Henry Bech stories, and the Maples stories have been canonized by Everyman's Library.[52] HP HSTNN-F01C Battery

After Updike's death, Harvard'sHoughton Library acquired his papers, manuscripts, and letters, naming the collection the John Updike Archive.[53] 2009 also saw the founding of the John Updike Society,[54] a group of scholars dedicated to "awakening and sustaining reader interest in the literature and life of John Updike, HP HSTNN-F02C Battery

promoting literature written by Updike, and fostering and encouraging critical responses to Updike's literary works." The Society will begin publishing The John Updike Review, a journal of critical scholarship in the field of Updike studies. The John Updike Society First Biennial Conference took place in 2010 at Alvernia University.[55] HP HSTNN-I78C Battery

Eulogizing Updike in January 2009, the British novelist Ian McEwan wrote that Updike's "literary schemes and pretty conceits touched at points on the Shakespearean", and that Updike's death marked "the end of the golden age of the American novel in the 20th century's second half." McEwan concluded that the Rabbit series is Updike's "masterpiece and will surely be his monument", and describing it, concluded: HP HSTNN-I79C Battery


Updike is a master of effortless motion — between third and first person, from the metaphorical density of literary prose to the demotic, from specific detail to wide generalisation, from the actual to the numinous, from the scary to the comic. HP HSTNN-I81C Battery

For his own particular purposes, Updike devised for himself a style of narration, an intense, present tense, free indirect style, that can leap up, whenever it wants, to a God's-eye view of Harry, or the view of his put-upon wife, Janice, or victimised son, Nelson. HP HSTNN-I83C Battery

This carefully crafted artifice permits here assumptions about evolutionary theory, which are more Updike than Harry, and comically sweeping notions of Jewry, which are more Harry than Updike. This is at the heart of the tetralogy's achievement. Updike once said of the Rabbit books that they were an exercise in point of view. HP HSTNN-I84C Battery

This was typically self-deprecating, but contains an important grain of truth. Harry's education extends no further than high school, and his view is further limited by a range of prejudices and a stubborn, combative spirit, yet he is the vehicle for a half-million-word meditation on postwar American anxiety, failure and prosperity. A mode had to be devised to make this possible, HP HSTNN-IB0N Battery

and that involved pushing beyond the bounds of realism. In a novel like this, Updike insisted, you have to be generous and allow your characters eloquence, "and not chop them down to what you think is the right size".[56] HP HSTNN-IB0W Battery

Jonathan Raban, highlighting many of the virtues that have been ascribed to Updike's prose, called Rabbit at Rest (1990) "one of the very few modern novels in English ... that one can set beside the work of Dickens, HP HSTNN-IB0X Battery

Thackeray, George Eliot, Joyce, and not feel the draft ... It is a book that works by a steady accumulation of a mass of brilliant details, of shades and nuances, of the byplay between one sentence and the next, and no short review can properly honor its intricacy and richness."[57] HP HSTNN-IB1E Battery

The novelist Philip Roth, considered one of Updike's chief literary rivals,[58] wrote that "John Updike is our time's greatest man of letters, as brilliant a literary critic and essayist as he was a novelist and short story writer. He is and always will be no less a national treasure than his 19th-century precursor, Nathaniel Hawthorne."[50] HP HSTNN-LB10 Battery


The noted critic James Wood called Updike "a prose writer of great beauty, but that prose confronts one with the question of whether beauty is enough, and whether beauty always conveys all that a novelist must convey."[59] In a review of Updike's Licks of Love (2001),HP HSTNN-OB0X Battery

Wood concluded that Updike's "prose trusses things in very pretty ribbons", but that there often exists in his work a "hard, coarse, primitive, misogynistic worldview." Wood both praises and criticizes Updike's language for having "an essayistic saunter; the language lifts itself up on pretty hydraulics, HP HSTNN-OB0Y Battery

and hovers slightly above its subjects, generally a little too accomplished and a little too abstract." He writes that Updike is capable of writing "the perfect sentence" and notes that Updike's unique style is characterized by a "delicate deferral" of the sentence. The beauty of Updike's language and his faith in the power of that language floats above reality, according to Wood: HP HSTNN-Q47C Battery


For some time now Updike's language has seemed to encode an almost theological optimism about its capacity to refer. Updike is notably unmodern in his impermeability to silence and the interruptions of the abyss. For all his fabled Protestantism, HP HSTNN-Q48C Battery

both AmericanPuritan and Lutheran-Barthian, with its cold glitter, its insistence on the aching gap between God and His creatures, Updike seems less like Hawthorne than Balzac, in his unstopping and limitless energy, and his cheerfully professional belief that stories can be continued; the very form of the Rabbit books – here extended a further instance – suggests continuance. HP HSTNN-Q49C Battery

Updike does not appear to believe that words ever fail us – ‘life's gallant, battered ongoingness ', indeed – and part of the difficulty he has run into, late in his career, is that he shows no willingness, verbally, to acknowledge silence, failure, interruption, loss of faith, despair and so on. Supremely, better than almost any other contemporary writer, HP HSTNN-Q50C Battery

he can always describe these feelings and states; but they are not inscribed in the language itself. Updike's language, for all that it gestures towards the usual range of human disappointment and collapse, testifies instead to its own uncanny success: to a belief that the world can always be brought out of its cloudiness and made clear in a fair season.[60] HP HSTNN-Q51C Battery

In direct contrast to Wood's evaluation, the Oxford critic Thomas Karshan asserted that Updike is "intensely intellectual", with a style that constitutes his "manner of thought" not merely "a set of dainty curlicues." Karshan calls Updike an inheritor of the "traditional role of the epic writer." According to Karshan, "Updike's writing picks up one voice, joins its cadence, HP HSTNN-Q60C Battery

and moves on to another, like Rabbit himself, driving south through radio zones on his flight away from his wife and child." Disagreeing with Wood's critique of Updike's alleged over-stylization, Karshan evaluates Updike's language as convincingly naturalistic: HP HSTNN-Q61C Battery

Updike's sentences at their frequent best are not a complacent expression of faith. Rather, like Proust's sentences in Updike's description, they "seek out an essence so fine the search itself is an act of faith." Updike aspires to "this sense of self-qualification, HP HSTNN-Q62C Battery

the kind of timid reverence towards what exists that Cézanne shows when he grapples for the shape and shade of a fruit through a mist of delicate stabs." Their hesitancy and self-qualification arise as they meet obstacles, readjust and pass on. HP HSTNN-Q63C Battery

If life is bountiful in New England, it is also evasive and easily missed. In the stories Updike tells, marriages and homes are made only to be broken. His descriptiveness embodies a promiscuous love for everything in the world. But love is precarious, Updike is always saying, since it thrives on obstructions and makes them if it cannot find them.[49] HP HSTNN-Q64C Battery

Harold Bloom once called Updike "a minor novelist with a major style. A quite beautiful and very considerable stylist ... He specializes in the easier pleasures."[61] Bloom also edited an important collection of critical essays on Updike in 1987, in which he concluded that Updike possessed a major style and was capable of writing beautiful sentences which are "beyond praise"; nevertheless, Bloom went on, "the American sublime will never touch his pages."[62] HP HSTNN-UB0W Battery

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