John Updike
Lecture Date: 4-27-1995
Click the link below to listen ot his celebrity's lecture:
Interview: Dean John Eadie and Professor Barry Gross introduce writer John Updike. Gross enumerates the large number and variety of works written by Updike. Updike, in an attempt to fit his readings to the occasion, reads some of his poetry about his various experiences in the Midwest and continues on to read from a collection of short stories called The Afterlife (1994). The particular story he chooses, The Rumor, concerns a Midwestern couple that is the victim of a vicious rumor and the decline of their relationship due to the scandal. Updike continues his lecture by answering questions from the audience on such topics as his own tastes in literature, how the characters in his novels relate to his own life, magical realism, the importance of the New Yorker to his career, and the ending of his “Rabbit” series. The author discusses his writing style and method as well as some of his inspirations. He shares his impressions of both Michigan and America in general. Updike concludes by considering the meaning he has found in his own life.
Biography: John Updike (1932- ), a remarkably prolific American novelist, poet, and short-story writer, was born in Shillington, Pennsylvania and graduated from Harvard in 1954. His considerable talent is evident from his writings, which reveal a well-controlled, fluid, exquisite style. His novels and stories usually concern the pressures and struggles of middle-class life, and they often deal with existential questions. Updike has gained international renown for his novels Rabbit Run (1960), Rabbit Redux (1971), Rabbit Is Rich (1981), and Rabbit at Rest (1990). They follow the life of Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, a star athlete, from his youth through the social and sexual revolutions of the 1960s, to later life and ultimate decline. The last two novels of this series earned him the Pulitzer Prize.