Updike

Updike Updike is Adam Begley s masterful much anticipated biography of one of the most celebrated figures in American literature Pulitzer Prize winning author John Updike a candid intimate and richly deta

  • Title: Updike
  • Author: Adam Begley
  • ISBN: 9780061896460
  • Page: 200
  • Format: Paperback
  • Updike is Adam Begley s masterful, much anticipated biography of one of the most celebrated figures in American literature Pulitzer Prize winning author John Updike a candid, intimate, and richly detailed look at his life and work.In this magisterial biography, Adam Begley offers an illuminating portrait of John Updike, the acclaimed novelist, poet, short story writer, anUpdike is Adam Begley s masterful, much anticipated biography of one of the most celebrated figures in American literature Pulitzer Prize winning author John Updike a candid, intimate, and richly detailed look at his life and work.In this magisterial biography, Adam Begley offers an illuminating portrait of John Updike, the acclaimed novelist, poet, short story writer, and critic who saw himself as a literary spy in small town and suburban America, who dedicated himself to the task of transcribing middleness with all its grits, bumps and anonymities Updike explores the stages of the writer s pilgrim s progress his beloved home turf of Berks County, Pennsylvania his escape to Harvard his brief, busy working life as the golden boy at The New Yorker his family years in suburban Ipswich, Massachusetts his extensive travel abroad and his retreat to another Massachusetts town, Beverly Farms, where he remained until his death in 2009 Drawing from in depth research as well as interviews with the writer s colleagues, friends, and family, Begley explores how Updike s fiction was shaped by his tumultuous personal life including his enduring religious faith, his two marriages, and his first hand experience of the adulterous society he was credited with exposing in the bestselling Couples.With a sharp critical sensibility that lends depth and originality to his analysis, Begley probes Updike s best loved works from Pigeon Feathers to The Witches of Eastwick to the Rabbit tetralogy and reveals a surprising and deeply complex character fraught with contradictions a kind man with a vicious wit, a gregarious charmer who was ruthlessly competitive, a private person compelled to spill his secrets on the printed page Updike offers an admiring yet balanced look at this national treasure, a master whose writing continues to resonate like no one else s.
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      Published :2019-08-25T01:08:37+00:00

    405 Comment

    • Jason Coleman says:

      I thought and dreamt about this book for many years before it existed, or before it was even in the works. I almost never read Updike these days; in my twenties, however, he was second only to Nabokov (another writer I almost never read any more). I didn't just read the Rabbit novels or those old anthology stand-bys "Pigeon Feathers" and "A&P." I read it all—things like A Month of Sundays, say, or the poetry. I think I even took a stab at his play Buchanan Dying. He was about my parents' a [...]

    • Dan says:

      Rabbit Run was the first grown up book I read as a young adult that I could truly identify with. I remember thinking that Updike was a genius without knowing anything else about him. He wrote with teutonic precision, to borrow a phrase from Adam Begley the biographer, in capturing Harry's innermost thoughts. I went and devoured the rest of the Rabbit tetralogy. All the novels in the series felt genuine and authentic in spite of the criticisms around Harry's excessive testosterone and mysognistic [...]

    • Ben Batchelder says:

      Let me say upfront: I’m not usually a fan of biographies. They always end badly. Especially in today’s morally unanchored world, the towering ambition of most lives worthy of a biography leaves a path of destruction on the way to temporal success: families destroyed, other careers shortened, lives poorly and feebly lived, if not outright crippled with disease.Despite being one of my favorite authors on late 20th century American life, John Updike does not diverge greatly from the pattern. Wh [...]

    • Grady says:

      'You have to give it magic'And magic is just the descriptor for this immensely informed and intelligent biography of John Updike by the gifted author Adam Begley. It goes so far beyond where biographies usually tread, giving us insights into a great American author as a man, an original thinker, and as one of the finest novelists of the last century. A quick glance at the facts form , `John Updike (18 March 1932 - 27 January 2009) was an American novelist, poet, short story writer, art critic, a [...]

    • James Smith says:

      It would be easy to underestimate Begley's Updike, only because Begley makes it look so easy. The approach he has taken--to read Updike's fiction as a thinly veiled chronicle of his real life (in other words, the Maples stories are Updike's story)--seems so natural and fertile that one might think it obvious, even easy. But that would be to miss the creative genius it takes to land on this approach. It would also miss the stunning mastery of Updike's oeuvre that Begley displays--again, effortles [...]

    • Ryan Williams says:

      Borges once said of James Joyce that he was less a man of letters than an entire literature. If you wanted a sentence that sums up the career of John Updike - who published over fifty books over a long writing career and twice won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction - you'd struggle to dream up a better one than that. Admittedly, 'struggle' isn't the first word you associate with Updike's career, but after reading Adam Begley's assured, informative biography, you might well modify that judgement. Upd [...]

    • James Murphy says:

      I've been a fan of John Updike's work for a long time. I read this first biography eager to learn more about where the fiction I admire came from. I was a little surprised to learn that it came from his own life. For the most part he recast his own personal experiences into his writings. From the early short stories to the first novel, Of the Farm, to the magnificence of The Centaur to Marry Me and even to the racy, notorious Couples, Updike was telling his own story. The famous characterization [...]

    • J.R. says:

      “More than fifty years after his first New Yorker check, he was still happily amazed that he could make a living this way, that his boyhood plan to ride ‘a thin pencil line out of Shillington, out of time altogether, into an infinity of unseen and even unborn hearts’ had succeeded quite so brilliantly.”Pennsylvania-born John Updike was a man who found no greater joy in life than in the sheer act of writing.Adam Begley’s comprehensive and sympathetic study of Updike’s life makes that [...]

    • Mike says:

      Fascinating reading for this Updike fan.Bears revisiting often.Notes31why was i so comfortably situated?43.fe had given my father a beating.44avenging the slights and abasements visited upon his father78tonously triumphant career167effortlessly industrious224.ligion enables us to ignore nothingness and get on with the jobs of life.240The courtly love conceit is ingenious but limiting, the characters diminished rather than enhanced by their role in a medieval tragedy (Tristan and Iseult) reconfig [...]

    • Stephen Hoogerhyde says:

      A very interesting literary biography. I had not realized that Updike put so much of his own life experiences into his stories and novels. However, that should not be surprising, given his expressed desire to, in his own words, "give the mundane its beautiful due." Updike published more than 60 books in his half-century career: novels, short stories, poems, book reviews, other prose pieces. He love the feel of typewriter keys (as opposed to the PC), and the tactile pleasure of a book. And he nev [...]

    • Malena Barzilai says:

      John Updike is my favorite writer, so how could I not love such a well-done biography of him?

    • Steve Petherbridge says:

      I am an avid Updike fan. He captures America and the lifestyle of middle America, emerging from post WWII austerity, from the 1950's to the early 21st Century, mostly through fictionalised lives of ordinary Americans, mostly middle class, embracing the post-pill freedoms, Vietnam, Kennedy, Johnson and Carter and touching on the Civil Rights and other 1960's turbulence, though he does not go deeply into any issue.Mostly though, his fiction is isolated from the greater American political stage wit [...]

    • Tony says:

      UPDIKE. (2014). Adam Begley. ****.Towards the end of his writing career, John Updike suffered a decline in popularity among his readers. There was a time – early on – when any new book by the author was eagerly anticipated. Then came the slump. It was not because the writing quality declined, it was simply that his readers began to tire of his stuff. I don’t know if Mr. Begley intended his biography as a way of revitalizing Updike’s image, but if it was it fell short because the last twe [...]

    • Dpdwyer says:

      A detailed, seemingly comprehensive 500 page biography that reads almost like a novel. Begley shows how Updike repeatedly and mercilessly, yet lovingly, mined the relationships and experiences of a lifetime in his fiction, essays, and poetry. Many exquisite quotes from Updike’s works like the following: Updike’s stated goal in his writing: “to give the mundane its beautiful due.”“I read slower than I write.” “The world keeps ending but new people too dumb to know it keep showing up [...]

    • Joe says:

      I Review Adam Begley’s “Updike,” a Biography.By the time "Rabbit" hit the bookstores Updike was ‘falling in love, away from marriage.’ After Rabbit, Run, sexual elements became stronger in his fiction, and if the Brewer of “Rabbit” was really Reading, Ipswich was really Tarbox, despite Updike’s denials — especially his denials after Couples appeared in 1968. Updike wasn’t the first in his Ipswich crowd to commit adultery, and possibly not the first in his marriage, according [...]

    • Les Dangerfield says:

      Unusually, I read the biography without having read any of his work. That may have made it more difficult to get into the book at first, but it is very well written and researched, interweaving the events of his life with summaries of the plots of his novels, which more often than not closely reflected his life. The book focuses on the 50s,60s and 70s to the relative neglect of the following three decades, which are given light coverage in the final two or three chapters. This may have been beca [...]

    • Beverly says:

      This was a well researched, somewhat comprehensive biography of John Updike, but it was a little dull. This may be a function of Updike's life: his most interesting activity was writing. I love about him his appreciation for the mundane and how he turned it into art. Begley failed to understand the centrality of faith in Updike's writing and, presumably, life. He also spent too much time on individual short stories to the neglect of the novels, and he skimmed over the later novels and some of th [...]

    • Carl Rollyson says:

      Reading Adam Begley’s book on John Updike confirms my beliefs that biography matters and that first biographies of major writers invariably leave more to be explored. Begley shows that while it may have seemed effortless for Updike to write sixty-odd books, this production took a lot of effort. Updike was more disciplined than almost all of his contemporaries, except for the likes of Philip Roth and Joyce Carol Oates. And like these two, he suffered at the hands of undiscerning critics, who th [...]

    • Edward says:

      Aside from a recent biography of Charles Dickens, I rarely read biographies of writers. Their books are what I'm interested in, not so much the lives that produced them. John Updike, though, is an exception as many of his novels and stories are thinly disguised autobiography so his books and life overlap and shed light one another. Further whetting my interst is that Updike was a chronicler, especially in his Rabbit Angstrom quartet of novels, of 20th century American middle-class society, a gro [...]

    • Deb says:

      Having enjoyed the works of many great American writers (Yates, Steinbeck, Fitzgerald among them) it was a librarian, many years back, who asked if I had tried Updike novels. The conversation we had left me curious - she was of a mind that this would be one US author I would loathe. So, I picked up the first of the Rabbit novels to discover more. The 'charges' levelled at Updike's work always refer to misogynistic tendencies - I found I loved his way with words. His characters have a 'life' to t [...]

    • Mark Stevens says:

      If you like the prose of John Updike, you’ll enjoy this biography. I suppose my job is to answer the question for non-believers: why should I read this? The answer is simple: Adam Begley’s fine portrait helps us see the combination of family forces and innate personality traits that produced one of the finest writers of the 20th Century. "Updike" is entertaining and deliciously detailed. And, most of all, reading Updike gives us the chance to watch an artist develop and get to work. Quite li [...]

    • SundayAtDusk says:

      Remembering no Updike read in my youth, although there very well may have been some, Adam Begley's book left me wanting to read none. Updike starts off confusing and draggy, starts coasting at Harvard and flying in New York, only to hit a wall in Ipswich. John Updike comes across as a self-obsessed mama's boy, a favorite son always craving special attention from a woman in one adulterous affair after another; until he ends up with a second wife who is like both a dominating mommy and daddy, shie [...]

    • Richard Bolson says:

      I didn't care much for this book, but it's only half due to the author. In his defense, the life itself is not very interesting - no real struggles, no revelations, no depth; in short, Updike comes across as a person who elicits neither sympathy nor affection. The part that is the author's fault is that, while I find it interesting to learn a little something of how an author includes personal details and experiences in his or her works, this book maps nearly every event (without regard to its l [...]

    • Stephy Costa says:

      I got about half way thru book and couldn't stand it anymore. This book made an interesting life of a great American author seem dryer than a corn husk and more boring than looking at snow on a TV with no reception.

    • John Bond says:

      Interesting portrait of my favorite writer. Balanced and not to salacious, given the subject. Well done.

    • Howard Cincotta says:

      John Updike “rode the thin pencil line out of Shillington,” his Pennsylvania boyhood home, in a high-performance, all-terrain writing engine that, as Adam Begley relates in this superlative biography, propelled him to become one of the great literary stylists of the English language, a master of the short story and novel, as well as one of our finest literary critics. In his stories and novels, such as the Rabbit tetralogy, Updike celebrated late 20th-century America with a compassion and el [...]

    • Richard Needham says:

      This biography is very well written and gave me new insights into one of America’s great 20th century authors. Certainly it helps to be fairly familiar with his output, and to really like his work as you delve into this book, as this is a biography with lots of insight, analysis and background on almost everything he wrote.John Updike was an amazingly prolific writer, who captured my imagination way back in the early 1960’s and continuing to his last works. I haven’t read everything by him [...]

    • Steven Andersson says:

      Quite a well-researched volume of Updike's life. What a talent! The descriptions of the stories and novels helps you put together a reading list of what interests you most.

    • Richard Block says:

      Finding the Big in the SmallAdam Begley's mammoth bio of the great John Updike is more than complete, it is a fat 9 course Rabbit meal. I read it before - and after Roth Unbound (shifted out of Ch.3 into Roth), which I ran through. I love both authors but preferred Roth's bio, because Updike's life, like many of his books, are not as interesting as Roth's life. So forgive the comparisons, but it is impossible to avoid them.Like Roth, Updike wrote of real life best, with great observation and rev [...]

    • Richard LeComte says:

      Adam Begley's exhaustive, engaging and every once in a while repetitive biography of John Updike takes up a difficult task" How do you write a biography about a man who exposed just about every aspect of his life in his fiction? The answer is you check and double check, then bring in other sources. Rather than bring us vivid descriptions of his boyhood and writing life-- after all, they appear in Updike's stories -- Begley offers his interpretations of Updike's writing (along with asides weighin [...]

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