R.I.P.: John Updike

Posted by on February 1st, 2009
Stored in Erkan's readings

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John Updike in 1955 Photo Credit: the Guardian

I have relatively recently discovered John Updike. His Rabbit character in Rabbit, Run was particularly influential for me. May he rest in peace…

John Updike, novelist, man of letters and erudite chronicler of sex, divorce, and life’s adventures, is dead… more»

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John Updike, novelist, man of letters and erudite chronicler of sex, divorce, and life’s adventures, is dead… APNYTTelegraphGuardianNYTLondon TimesWPNew YorkerLA TimesGuardianTPMBoston GlobeLondon TimesNational PostWSJLA TimesGuardianForbesSF ChronSlateGuardianPhilly InqTLSIndependent

John Updike: singing America, James Schiff

In literature

I was in class with ten students on the afternoon of 27 January 2009, teaching a graduate seminar titled "Updike and Atwood", when my phone buzzed. I ignored it and all subsequent vibrations because our discussion of Rabbit, Run was going well. It wasn’t until break (it’s a three-hour class) that I read the text messages: John Updike had died. I was devastated. We had just been discussing the raw kinetic energy, zigzag structure and lyrical passages of his first "Rabbit" novel. Someone had even commented on how alive the novel felt. Now, suddenly, Updike was gone. I somehow got through the second half of class, in part by showing a video of Updike, as if, perhaps, to resurrect him. Yet I was in shock, and further unsettled by the snowstorm outside our window and a low-grade fever I was running from a bad cold.

  • Claudia, from Canada.

    God, I will miss him.
    As a Canadian, I felt invited by him to enter his American universe, not as a distant guest, but as a participant. He kept winning those prizes, and I kept saying smugly, “It’s because I read him.” I think he would have been the first to admit that his readers pushed him forward. We expected more and more of him. And he fulfilled our needs. I call his books: “tableaux”, as his painter’s eyes have built luminous sentences that I want to put on my walls.
    God, I will miss him…

  • Erkan, he was my favourite author. I posted something about him today. For you I even made it English: http://christianrunkel.blogspot.com/2009/01/john-updike-1932-2009.html

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