Wednesday, January 28, 2009

John Updike, prize-winning writer, dead at age 76
By HILLEL ITALIE – reporting in The New York Times

NEW YORK (AP) — John Updike, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, prolific man of letters and erudite chronicler of sex, divorce and other adventures in the postwar prime of the American empire, died Tuesday at age 76.
Updike, a resident of Beverly Farms, Mass., died of lung cancer, according to a statement from his publisher, Alfred A. Knopf.

A literary writer who frequently appeared on best-seller lists, the tall, hawk-nosed Updike wrote novels, short stories, poems, criticism, the memoir "Self-Consciousness" and even a famous essay about baseball great Ted Williams. He was prolific, even compulsive, releasing more than 50 books in a career that started in the 1950s. Updike won virtually every literary prize, including two Pulitzers, for "Rabbit Is Rich" and "Rabbit at Rest," and two National Book Awards.
Although himself deprived of a Nobel, he did bestow it upon one of his fictional characters, Henry Bech, the womanizing, egotistical Jewish novelist who collected the literature prize in 1999.
Guardian piece, Updike Remembered - link here.


Anonymous said...

sorry to learn of Updike's death.
I once "met" him in the National Gallery Washington. I recognised him and thought "damned if I'm going to let this chance pass by" and acted like a gushing groupie to say "John Updike?". "Guilty as charged" he replied. I then said (in all sincerity) that his Rabbit quartet was perhaps the greatest contemporary work in US fiction. He seemed pleased because I saw him a few moments later clearly mentioning it to his wife(?) with a nod in my direction.

Anonymous said...

Sad about John Updike, but no American writer was more productive or more influential. Not only was he an amazing novelist, he was a mind-boggling literary critic, and the occasional screenplay writer. Slowly and deliberately, he was the great chronicler of American suburban life from the Second World War to today. A real counterpoint to Norman Mailer and Philip Roth, but a lighter, less depressive visionary than Richard Yates, whose REVOLUTIONARY ROAD and EASTER PARADE are two of the great and only recently praise sung works of 20th century fiction.
Now I'm on my high horse.&n bsp; But losing Updike is like losing the Egyptian wing of the Metropolitan Mus eum of Art.

Anonymous said...

John Updike's passing is sad news indeed... he possessed a truly beautiful mind; he didn't just write well, he wrote wisely

Anonymous said...

Graham dear,

I often write you fan letters, but alas in my head.

Yesterday's blog, though, had just so very much to savour even though some was sad/alarming.

Thank you. So many of us are indebted to you.