John Updike

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From the time he published his first story in The New Yorker in 1954, John Updike truly became a man of letters, publishing in virtually every literary genre — poetry, short fiction, novel, essay, drama, art criticism, and autobiography. His first short-story collection, The Same Door, appeared in 1959; many more followed, including The Afterlife, and Other Stories in 1994. Updike's play Buchanan Dying was published in 1974. Updike published his first nonfiction prose collection in 1965; most of his nonfiction works are collections of essays and criticism, but the autobiographical Self-Consciousness: Memoirs appeared in 1989 and the single-themed Golf Dreams: Writings on Golf was published in 1996. (De Bellis, 2005. Pp: 124-126).


One of the major figures to emerge in American fiction after World War II, John Updike is widely acclaimed as one of the most accomplished stylists and prolific writers of his generation. Showing remarkable versatility and range, his fiction represents a penetrating chronicle in the realist mode of the changing morals and manners of American society. Updike's work has met with both critical and popular success. His first novel, The Poorhouse Fair, received the Rosenthal Award of the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1960. In 1964, Updike received the National Book Award for The Centaur, and he was elected the same year to the National Institute of Arts and Letters. (De Bellis, 2005. Pp: 124-126). A number of his short stories have won the O. Henry Prize for best short story of the year and have been included in the yearly volumes of The Best American Short Stories. In 1977, Updike was elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1981, his novel Rabbit Is Rich won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the American Book Award. Along with an honorary doctoral degree from alma mater Harvard University, Updike received numerous honors throughout his career, including another Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the National Arts Club Medal of Honor, the National Book Foundation Medal. (Pritchard, William 2000. Pp: 124-156).


The only child of Wesley Updike and Linda Grace Updike , John Hoyer Updike spent the first thirteen years of his life living with his parents and grandparents in his maternal grandparents' home in Shillington, Pennsylvania, in rather strained economic conditions. Updike's father supported the family on his meager salary as a mathematics teacher at the high school. A number of Updike's short stories, such as “Flight,” and the novels The Centaur and Of the Farm drew upon this experience. As a youth, Updike dreamed of drawing cartoons and writing for The New Yorker, an ambition he fulfilled in 1955. Updike went to Harvard University in 1950 on a full scholarship, majoring in English. In April of 1957, fearing that the city scene would disturb his development as a writer, Updike left New York for Ipswich, Massachusetts, where he and his family would live for the next seventeen years and which would serve as the model for the settings of a number of stories and ...
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