Updike, John

Updike, John

▪ American author
in full  John Hoyer Updike 
born March 18, 1932, Reading, Pennsylvania, U.S.
died January 27, 2009, Danvers, Mass.
 American writer of novels, short stories, and poetry, known for his careful craftsmanship and realistic but subtle depiction of “American, Protestant, small-town, middle-class” life.

      Updike grew up in Shillington, Pennsylvania, and many of his early stories draw on his youthful experiences there. He graduated from Harvard University in 1954. In 1955 he began an association with The New Yorker (New Yorker, The) magazine, to which he contributed editorials, poetry, stories, and criticism throughout his prolific career. His poetry—intellectual, witty pieces on the absurdities of modern life—was gathered in his first book, The Carpentered Hen and Other Tame Creatures (1958), which was followed by his first novel, The Poorhouse Fair (1958). About this time, Updike devoted himself to writing fiction full-time, and several works followed. Rabbit, Run (1960), which is considered to be one of his best novels, concerns a former star athlete who is unable to recapture success when bound by marriage and small-town life and flees responsibility. Three subsequent novels, Rabbit Redux (1971), Rabbit Is Rich (1981), and Rabbit at Rest (1990)—the latter two winning Pulitzer Prizes—follow the same character during later periods of his life. Rabbit Remembered (2001) returns to characters from those books in the wake of Rabbit's death. The Centaur (1963) and Of the Farm (1965) are notable among Updike's novels set in Pennsylvania.

      Much of Updike's later fiction is set in New England (in Ipswich, Massachusetts), where he lived from the 1960s. Updike continued to explore the issues that confront middle-class America, such as fidelity, religion, and responsibility. The novels Couples (1968) and Marry Me (1976) expose the evolving sexual politics of the time in East Coast suburbia. Updike set Memories of the Ford Administration: A Novel (1992) in the 1970s, infusing the tale of a professor's research on President James Buchanan with observations on sexuality. In the Beauty of the Lilies (1996) draws parallels between religion and popular obsession with cinema, while Gertrude and Claudius (2000) offers conjectures on the early relationship between Hamlet's mother and her brother-in-law. In response to the cultural shifts that occurred in the United States after the September 11 attacks, Updike released Terrorist in 2006.

      Updike often expounded upon characters from earlier novels, eliding decades of their lives only to place them in the middle of new adventures. The Witches of Eastwick (1984; filmed 1987), about a coven of witches, was followed by The Widows of Eastwick (2008), which trails the women into old age. Bech: A Book (1970), Bech Is Back (1982), and Bech at Bay (1998) humorously trace the tribulations of a Jewish writer.

      Updike's several collections of short stories include The Same Door (1959), Pigeon Feathers (1962), Museums and Women (1972), Problems (1979), and Trust Me (1987). He also wrote nonfiction and criticism, much of it appearing in The New Yorker. It has been collected in Assorted Prose (1965), Picked-Up Pieces (1975), Hugging the Shore (1983), and Odd Jobs (1991). Still Looking: Essays on American Art (2005) examines both art and its cultural presentation, and Due Considerations (2007) collects later commentary spanning art, sexuality, and literature. Updike also continued to write poetry, usually light verse.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Updike, John — ► (n. 1932) Poeta y novelista estadounidense. Obras: La misma puerta (1959), El centauro (1963), Un mes de domingos (1977), El golpe de Estado (1978), El conejo rico (1981), Las brujas de Eastwick (1984), Hacia el final del tiempo (1999),… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Updike, John —    см. Апдайк, Джон …   Писатели США. Краткие творческие биографии

  • Updike, John (Hoyer) — born March 18, 1932, Shillington, Pa., U.S. U.S. writer. He attended Harvard University and in 1955 began a long association with The New Yorker. His works are known for careful craftsmanship and for their subtle depiction of American middle… …   Universalium

  • Updike,John Hoyer — Up·dike (ŭpʹdīk ), John Hoyer. Born 1932. American writer particularly known for his tragicomic novels, such as Rabbit, Run (1960) and Rabbit at Rest (1990), concerning the trials of middle class suburbanites. * * * …   Universalium

  • Updike, John (Hoyer) — (n. 1932, Shillington, Pa., EE.UU.). Escritor estadounidense. Estudió en la Universidad de Harvard y en 1955 inició una prolongada asociación con la revista The New Yorker. Sus obras son conocidas por su delicada destreza y por su aguda… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Updike — Updike, John …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • John Hoyer Updike — John Updike John Updike John Updike (à gauche) reçoit la National Medal of Arts des mains de George Bush en 1989 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • John Updike — en 1989 Nom de naissance John Hoyer Updike Activités romancier et critique littéraire Naissance 18 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Updike — John Updike John Updike John Updike (à gauche) reçoit la National Medal of Arts des mains de George Bush en 1989 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • John Hoyer Updike — John Updike, 1989 John Hoyer Updike (* 18. März 1932 in Reading, Pennsylvania; † 27. Januar 2009 in Beverly, Massachusetts) war ein US amerikanischer Schriftsteller. Updike hat mehr als 20 bedeutende …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”