John Updike pictured in The set amounts to seven pillars, if not of wisdom then something not far off, of warm scrupulous attentiveness. One example is The Beloved, a story accepted by the New Yorker in but then withdrawn after the editor, William Shawnexpressed "qualms", as Updike puts it, "about the theatrical background I had concocted".
John Updike pictured in The set amounts to seven pillars, if not of wisdom then something not far off, of warm scrupulous attentiveness.
To salute Updike's professionalism, though, is to insult something more important, as he pointed out when accepting an award for a previous selection Hugging the Shore in One example is The Beloved, a story accepted by the New Yorker in but then withdrawn after the editor, William Shawnexpressed "qualms", as Updike puts it, "about the theatrical background I had concocted".
Shawn wasn't the most confrontational of editors his successor, Bob Gottlieb, referred to him as "the White Rabbit"and it may have been something not exactly theatrical that bothered him. The story, about an actor who can't escape from the spell he casts on others, is unusual for Updike in the negativism of its sexual psychology.
The hero, Francis, has dealings with both sexes and feels a certain amount of disgust for each. Leaving one woman, he realises that "in some way, physically, she had always repelled him. There had always been in the texture of her buttocks a faint and disturbing grittiness, like sand on a damp day at the beach, and a panicky sweatiness in the yellow soles of her little high-arched feet.
With men, Francis enjoys the sex but dislikes the people "They dominated the company, and aspired to the dignity of a culture". Even after he has returned to heterosexuality he is "inwardly bent" by remembered details, "the fleshy freedoms, amid a rub of planes satisfyingly solid and flat and rank, that, carried to the porch of pain, could never be reestablished on the body of a woman, however corrupt".
His final verdict on the world he has been exploring is that "there was a sourness here Francis could not help relating to the sourness of the male rectum".
You might think that the rectum was not strongly gendered in its attributes, but this is a world away from the rapt descriptions of women's bathroom smells in Memories of the Ford Administration In one of his finest late novels, Seek My FaceUpdike's refusal to enter the gay world imaginatively compromised his achievement — you can't write seriously about the post-war New York art scene while neglecting this constituency.
His conflicts are nearer the surface in The Beloved, and it's clear that his attitude was closer to a willed withholding of interest than an untroubled dismissal. Few people want to read about gay sex but even fewer, surely, want to read about golf.
Yet the pages on this subject provide some of the book's high points. The friend or functionary who approached Updike for a contribution to a centennial volume celebrating the Massachusetts Golf Association must have been incredulous at the richness of what he turned in, not a thin sketch or slack reminiscence but something packed with social texture and novelistic detail.
He describes, for instance, his move from public golf courses to private ones: With another golf piece, written for the Talk of the Town section inthe New Yorker for once received short measure from a favoured son.
Its conceit of falling in love with golf, personified as a femme fatale, has run out of steam even before the passage about her liking guys " gals too — she's through with gender hang-ups " who keep it simple. A little later Updike comes up with one of the few cloth-eared sentences he ever wrote: If Updike himself had been compiling the volume, rather than Carduff, it's hard to imagine In Love With a Wanton making the cut.
There's one piece with obvious formal problems, The Football Factory, which still earns its place in the book.
It's neither quite article nor quite story, describing the visit of a "dignitary" to, yes, a football factory the one Updike visited was the Wilson Sporting Goods factory in Ada, Ohio. The dignitary isn't characterised but is given a full page of romantic fantasy in which he imagines settling down "Their first years, he sat home with the babies…" with one of the women who work the die-cutting machines.
The piece is described by Carduff as antedating and "perhaps" inspiring Rita Cohen's visit to the Swede's glove factory in Philip Roth's American Pastoral, though it would be nice to have some evidence beyond the theoretical possibility.
Updike describes the face of the factory's floor manager as "slightly plump, with a disagreeable deep dimple in the center of his chin, and an asymmetry to the eyes that would have led an inspector to toss his head into the reject barrel".
The narrator knows, though, that rejected footballs aren't thrown away but marketed cheaply to relatively undemanding customers.Literary Criticism for John Updike "A&P" Essay.
John Updike is considered to be one of the greatest modern American writers - Literary Criticism for John Updike "A&P" Essay introduction. He was able to use his All-American upbringing as inspiration for a lot of his writing, making it relatable to many people. Literary Review of Rabbit Run by John Updike John Updike's novel, Rabbit, Run, is about a man named Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom.
Rabbit is a brainless guy whose career as a . John Updike is considered to be one of the greatest modern American writers - Literary Criticism for John Updike "A&P" introduction. He was able to use his All-American upbringing as inspiration for a lot of his writing, making it relatable to many people.
Updike was born in Reading, Pennsylvania on March 18, He moved. Essays and criticism on John Updike's A&P - Critical Essays. More Matter is a collection of essays and criticism from the s.
The bulk of the text addresses literature, but Updike touches other topics, such as art, movies, and regardbouddhiste.coms: John Updike Higher Gossip: Essays and Criticism by John Updike – review Golf, gay sex and the fate of faulty footballs are some of the subjects tackled in this final pillar of Updike's wisdom.