John Updike Quotes By and About.

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John Updike Quotes By and About.

You know you are getting old when the icons of your youth die. So it is with John Updike, who died this week and whose life and writing was always there during my life. Here are a few quotes I collected over the years.

From earliest childhood I was charmed by the materials of my craft, by pencils and paper and, later, by the typewriter and the entire apparatus of printing. To condense from one’s memories and fantasies and small discoveries dark marks on paper which become handsomely reproducible many times over still seems to me, after nearly 30 years concerned with the making of books, a magical act, and a delightful technical process. To distribute oneself thus, as a kind of confetti shower falling upon the heads and shoulders of mankind out of bookstores and the pages of magazines is surely a great privilege and a defiance of the usual earthbound laws whereby human beings make themselves known to one another.” John Updike,on writing, NYT January 28, 2009

Updike fulfilled “Stendhal’s classic definition of a novel as ‘a mirror that strolls along a highway,’ reflecting both the ‘blue of the skies’ and ‘the mud puddles underfoot.” MICHIKO KAKUTANI NYT January 28, 2009

Of nothing but me. . . I sing, lacking another song. John Updike,on radical self absorption, MIDPOINT, CANTO I, 1969 December 18, 2008

John Updike is the great genial sorcerer of American letters. His output alone (60 books, almost 40 of them novels or story collections) has been supernatural. More wizardly still is the ingenuity of his prose. He has now written tens of thousands of sentences, many of them tiny miracles of transubstantiation whereby some hitherto overlooked datum of the human or natural world from the anatomical to the zoological, the socio-economic to the spiritual emerges, as if for the first time, in the complete‚­ness of its actual being. Sam Tanenhaus, on The Witches of Eastwick, NYT Book Review October 25, 2008

The stories revealed the mind of an artist on whom nothing is lost, for whom seeing is fused with the most filigreed turns of language. Updike is a potent stylist, but of a particular kind — less psychological (though he is psychological too), less analytical (though he is frequently that), than visual and painterly. His effects are of sheen and shadow, color and form, spine and splay, hair and haunch. Cynthia Ozick, novelist on early Updike as read in the New Yorker, NYT November 30, 2003

My main debt, which may not be evident, is to Hemingway; it was he who showed us all how much tension and complexity unalloyed dialogue can convey, and how much poetry lurks in the simplest nouns and predicates. John Updike, in Cynthia Ozick’s review of his early work, NYT November 30, 2003

While his male characters pursue sex with dogged zeal be it with a neighbor’s wife, a colleague or a prostitute they also suffer from a spiritual hunger, a craving, if not for God then for some reassurance that there is something between them and the abyss they can glimpse just beyond the familiar world with “its signals and buildings and cars and bricks.” Michiko Kakutani, spiritual hunger in early updike, NYT November 21, 2003

I feel I am closest to God when writing. You’re singing praises. You’re describing the world, as it is. And even if the passages turn out sordid or depressing, there’s something holy about the truth. John Updike, commenting when interviewed for NPR’s ‘Tell Me A Story,’ as reflected upon by the host, Marjorie Leet Ford, March 31, 2003

Our brains are no longer conditioned for reverence and awe. We cannot imagine a Second Coming that would not be cut down to size by the televised evening news, or a Last Judgement not subject to pages of holier-than-Thou second guessing in the New York Review of Books. John Updike, on today’s snobbish, elite, dismissiveness of religion, Self-Consciousness Memoirs, December 31, 1989

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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