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Wednesday, June 23, 2010


With the release of new materials in the Updike archives at Harvard, the New York Times has a flurry of stuff about the reclusive writer.

Money quote partially atken from Updike's own letters home:

"These rejections steeled Updike in his growing belief that American writers had grown infatuated with European modernists and should instead pay closer attention to their own time and place.

"'We do not need men like Proust and Joyce; men like this are a luxury, an added fillip that an abundant culture can produce only after the more basic literary need has been filled,' Updike wrote to his parents in 1951, when he was 19. 'This age needs rather men like Shakespeare, or Milton, or Pope; men who are filled with the strength of their cultures and do not transcend the limits of their age, but, working within the times, bring what is peculiar to the moment to glory. We need great artists who are willing to accept restrictions, and who love their environments with such vitality that they can produce an epic out of the Protestant ethic' — a prescient formulation of what he would later achieve in the Rabbit novels and his Pennsylvania short stories. 'Whatever the many failings of my work,' he concluded, 'let it stand as a manifesto of my love for the time in which I was born.'

You can check the articles out here.