The Soul Of John Updike

In a review of Adam Begley’s Updike, William Deresiewicz finds that writer’s short story, “Pigeon Feathers,” offers telling insight into his religious beliefs. In the story, the character David is asked by his mother to kill the pigeons roosting in their barn, which gives him “the sensation of a creator.” How Deresiewicz describes what happens next: It … Continue reading The Soul Of John Updike

Updike Upclose, Ctd

Adam Begley’s biography Updike continues to stir debate about its subject’s artistic merits. For the defense, David Baddiel: He is the great poet of the ordinary life, of domesticity, of life as most people live it – as opposed to Saul Bellow, who writes mainly about life as deep-thinking intellectuals, academics and writers live it (and who was … Continue reading Updike Upclose, Ctd

Updike Upclose, Ctd

In a review of Adam Begley’s new biography Updike, Hermione Lee describes the essence of the late author’s fiction: In one of his last stories, “My Father’s Tears,” he quotes from Emerson: “Every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact.” Emerson is there too at the front of Self-Consciousness: “We are persuaded that … Continue reading Updike Upclose, Ctd

The Un-tortured Artist

Harold Bloom once snarkily quipped that John Updike was “a minor novelist with a major style.” After reading Adam Begley’s biography, Updike, Daniel Ross Goodman seems to agree, noting the writer’s “lack of intense passion.” He speculates the deficit “was because Updike did not experience the deep suffering of many other literary geniuses”: Updike was not forced to labor … Continue reading The Un-tortured Artist

The Flesh Made Word

Stephen H. Webb criticizes John Updike’s biographer Adam Begley for not “getting to the heart of what he most cherished in his personal experiences” – especially the novelist’s attachment to Christianity: The reason why critics as perceptive as Begley marginalize Updike’s religious faith has to do with the content of his theological convictions, not the … Continue reading The Flesh Made Word

A Short Story For Saturday

by Matthew Sitman The last few weeks we have tracked the responses to Adam Begley’s Updike, the new biography of the late novelist and critic, who also was an accomplished poet and short story writer. Today’s featured story is “The Varieties of Religious Experience,” which Updike published in The Atlantic just over a year after the September 11th terrorist … Continue reading A Short Story For Saturday