About This Author

John Updike

Updike in 1989
Updike in 1989

Born

John Hoyer UpdikeMarch 18, 1932 Reading, Pennsylvania, United States

Died

January 27, 2009 Danvers, Massachusetts, United States

Occupation

Novelist, short-story writer, poet, literary critic, artist

Genre

Literary realism

Notable works

Rabbit Angstrom novels Henry Bech storiesThe Witches of Eastwick

Signature

John Updike's voice
from the BBC programFront Row, October 31, 2008.

John Hoyer Updike was an American novelist, poet, short-story writer, art critic, and literary critic. One of only three writers to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction more than once , Updike published more than twenty novels, more than a dozen short-story collections, as well as poetry, art and literary criticism and children's books during his career.

Hundreds of his stories, reviews, and poems appeared in The New Yorker starting in 1954. He also wrote regularly for The New York Review of Books. His most famous work is his "Rabbit" series , which chronicles the life of the middle-class everyman Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom over the course of several decades, from young adulthood to death. Both Rabbit Is Rich and Rabbit at Rest were recognized with the Pulitzer Prize.

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Discover John Updike Quotes and Sayings

Writers may be disreputable, incorrigible, early to decay or late to bloom but they dare to go it alone. - John Updike

Writers may be disreputable, incorrigible, early to decay or late to bloom but they dare to go it alone.

John Updike

alone
I love my government not least for the extent to which it leaves me alone. - John Updike

I love my government not least for the extent to which it leaves me alone.

John Updike

government alone
What art offers is space - a certain breathing room for the spirit. - John Updike

What art offers is space - a certain breathing room for the spirit.

John Updike

art
Customs and convictions change respectable people are the last to know, or to admit, the change, and the ones most offended by fresh reflections of the facts in the mirror of art. - John Updike

Customs and convictions change respectable people are the last to know, or to admit, the change, and the ones most offended by fresh reflections of the facts in the mirror of art.

John Updike

change art
Dreams come true without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them. - John Updike

Dreams come true without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.

John Updike

nature dreams
The Founding Fathers in their wisdom decided that children were an unnatural strain on parents. So they provided jails called schools, equipped with tortures called an education. - John Updike

The Founding Fathers in their wisdom decided that children were an unnatural strain on parents. So they provided jails called schools, equipped with tortures called an education.

John Updike

wisdom education
Existence itself does not feel horrible it feels like an ecstasy, rather, which we have only to be still to experience. - John Updike

Existence itself does not feel horrible it feels like an ecstasy, rather, which we have only to be still to experience.

John Updike

experience
Government is either organized benevolence or organized madness its peculiar magnitude permits no shading. - John Updike

Government is either organized benevolence or organized madness its peculiar magnitude permits no shading.

John Updike

government
Most of American life consists of driving somewhere and then returning home, wondering why the hell you went. - John Updike

Most of American life consists of driving somewhere and then returning home, wondering why the hell you went.

John Updike

home
A leader is one who, out of madness or goodness, volunteers to take upon himself the woe of the people. There are few men so foolish, hence the erratic quality of leadership in the world. - John Updike

A leader is one who, out of madness or goodness, volunteers to take upon himself the woe of the people. There are few men so foolish, hence the erratic quality of leadership in the world.

John Updike

leadership
We are most alive when we're in love. - John Updike

We are most alive when we're in love.

John Updike

love
Every marriage tends to consist of an aristocrat and a peasant. Of a teacher and a learner. - John Updike

Every marriage tends to consist of an aristocrat and a peasant. Of a teacher and a learner.

John Updike

teacher marriage
That a marriage ends is less than ideal but all things end under heaven, and if temporality is held to be invalidating, then nothing real succeeds. - John Updike

That a marriage ends is less than ideal but all things end under heaven, and if temporality is held to be invalidating, then nothing real succeeds.

John Updike

marriage
The first breath of adultery is the freest after it, constraints aping marriage develop. - John Updike

The first breath of adultery is the freest after it, constraints aping marriage develop.

John Updike

marriage
Each morning my characters greet me with misty faces willing, though chilled, to muster for another day's progress through the dazzling quicksand the marsh of blank paper. - John Updike

Each morning my characters greet me with misty faces willing, though chilled, to muster for another day's progress through the dazzling quicksand the marsh of blank paper.

John Updike

morning
A healthy male adult bore consumes each year one and a half times his own weight in other people's patience. - John Updike

A healthy male adult bore consumes each year one and a half times his own weight in other people's patience.

John Updike

patience