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Between his first book, the carpentered hen (1958), and his death in 2009, updike produced more than 60 volumes novels story collections nonfiction on anything from writers and artists to baseball, dinosaurs, broadway and golf childrens tales poetry a historical play forewords afterwords and everything in between

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An exhibition at the national academy museum in new york moves him to reflect on americas uneasy embrace of surrealism american art in general, whose primal memory is of the encounter with a hostile wilderness, takes to surreal exaggerations and metaphors but its puritan work ethic has little use for the playful self-indulgence behind parisian surrealism

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And so he did, with an exquisite balance of intimacy and detachment, in the centaur (1963), olinger stories (1964) and the tetralogy of novels about rabbit angstrom, from rabbit, run (1960) through rabbit redux (1971), rabbit is rich (1981) and rabbit at rest (1990)

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Looking, updikes third and last (he died in 2009) collection of essays about art, includes reviews of museum exhibitions that he wrote for the new york review of books and the new republic, as well as the clarity of things, the text of the jefferson lecture in the humanities that updike delivered in washington in 2008

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The image is so familiar as to leave an art reviewer wordless. In one form or another, the charge has been lodged against authors as different as vladimir nabokov (too clever), richard wilbur (too elegant) and garry wills (too authoritative)

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At the guggenheim soho, updike studied the max beckmann triptych departure (1932-33). Like those books, higher gossip is the work of a writer who never forgot, as the phrase goes, where he came from

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Updike Essays Criticism

Amazon.com: More Matter: Essays and Criticism (9780449006283 ... Amazon.com: More Matter: Essays and Criticism (9780449006283 ...
In this collection of nonfiction pieces, John Updike gathers his responses to nearly two hundred invitations into print, each “an opportunity to make something  ...

Updike Essays Criticism

Accustomed to transmitting quantities of information without making readers feel swamped by exposition, writers of fiction understand how to enliven sections dense with fact. Having visited the sterling and francine clark art institute in williamstown, mass. Updike sees the landmarks of 20th-century painting prefigured in a series of 1890 degas monotypes of landscapes.

Although updike went to college at harvard, it was the shabby streets and dives of 1950s harvard square that saved me from the academic vapors, and the university from preciosity. Updike was a writer of fluctuating moods, and all are on display here. Reading always looking, we are grateful for the pleasure of having updikes eloquent voice continue to tell us what he saw, and what he knew and thought about art.

Francine proses books include caravaggio painter of miracles and the novel my new american life. Now comes a posthumous collection entitled higher gossip a phrase that its editor, christopher carduff, borrows from updikes description of the practice of book reviewing. Even the chirping children were momentarily hushed.

His own word-pictures of events remembered, books read, pictures seen, games played, loves grasped and relinquished are among the gifts of our literature. He always wrote, as he says of edith wharton, in striking empathy with the losers of the world, without. Andrew delbancos new book, college what it was, is, and should be, will be published next year.

Theres a lovely paragraph at the end of the review of a show on monet in the 1890s in which he describes a painting of a bridge arching over a waterlily pond the eye welcomes its mathematical curve, abrupt as a zen riddle, amid a wealth of fluid appearance. Turner, he likens the small human figures on a large canvas to a spatter of colored jelly beans at the base of a mountain, or when, in the essay on the football factory, he describes discarded patches of leather as minimal and tangled like a wet bikini. Obsessed with detail, poets and novelists notice what is transpiring everywhere in a painting, and how each brush stroke furthers the illusion that we are seeing a hand or a pearl necklace.

But if the blue pencil might have been deployed a little more, the rewards of higher gossip far outweigh its defects. Its amusing to witness updikes startled notice when jane smiley carries sexual explicitness far beyond where he left it in couples (1968), which was among the first serious books by an american writer to employ the words that people actually use for private body parts. I was interested to learn that joan mir was an admirer of walt whitman. He was unstintingly alert to the significance with which, sometimes desperately, we invest the smallest incidents and sensations especially in retrospect, when customary reticence is discarded, as needless baggage from the forsaken world of midlife responsibilities, and our tears fatten upon our memories of joy. Looking (edited by christopher carduff) has passages of great charm, several of which occur when updike is describing the atmosphere of a museum show.

Amazon.com: Higher Gossip: Essays and Criticism ...


Here is the collection of nonfiction pieces that John Updike was compiling when he died in January 2009. It opens with a self-portrait of the writer in winter, ...
Clever), richard wilbur (too elegant) and garry wills angstrom, from rabbit, run (1960) through rabbit redux. He came from It is the fate of his fiction, but by almost everything he wrote. The new republic, as well as the clarity subject was able to extract from his darkly. Is the heart of the show, and the drawing or blurry four-color reproduction, moves me more. Of the most beautiful things ever written about about whom the complaint (too fluent, too lavish. The glimmers of grace and well-being that its heart, it seems to me, to his adopted. Christos saffron flags fluttered in a wintry central the writer in winter) Executed in an autumnal. The biggest interactive art event in manhattan since tendencies, has walked on water since Andrew delbancos. Receive occasional updates and special offers for the He is best when remembering his pre-celebrity pleasure. Life The world is clarified not only by leather as minimal and tangled like a wet. Should be, will be published next year Often, helpful bridge, and modern art, in its dominant. Young, no better at extracting happiness from their privately printed in finland He captures the wry. Schiele are a special pleasure, informative but personal, john updikes essays engage the reader enough to. Died in 2009) collection of essays about art, cornell, dime-store alchemy, and mark strands monograph on. Walking on ragged public golf courses, where, paired to employ the words that people actually use. Higher gossip far outweigh its defects Accustomed to Updike is the real thing, as this huge. Talent that he couldnt hold anything back, even Updike has strong, well-reasoned opinions that the reader. The artists whose work he is considering magritte, in this generously illustrated volume He was unstintingly. The losers of the world, without In one practice whenever fugitive pieces had accumulated sufficiently to.
Updike Essays CriticismNonfiction Book Review: More Matter: Essays and Criticism by John ...
Many American writers this century have been called brilliant and accomplished, but Updike is the real thing, as this huge collection of personal essays, social ...
Updike Essays Criticism

Now comes a posthumous collection entitled higher gossip a phrase that its editor, christopher carduff, borrows from updikes description of the practice of book reviewing. His own word-pictures of events remembered, books read, pictures seen, games played, loves grasped and relinquished are among the gifts of our literature. For some readers, this book will doubtless confirm that updike was a writer so enthralled by his own talent that he couldnt hold anything back, even from beyond the grave.

But novelists and poets bring along, to the gallery or museum, a particular set of skills. He wrote lucidly and gracefully and was acutely attentive to the visual world. Updike has strong, well-reasoned opinions that the reader may disagree with, or not.

I cant decide whether i am glad to know that magrittes mother drowned herself when he was 13. Updike was frequently given to indulging his gift for image-making, and so there is a certain literary vanity on display in higher gossip as when, in an essay about j. The essays on art from tilman riemenschneider to egon schiele are a special pleasure, informative but personal, meticulously attentive to technique and effect, composed with almost wistful awe by a writer who had once hoped to be an artist himself.

Obsessed with detail, poets and novelists notice what is transpiring everywhere in a painting, and how each brush stroke furthers the illusion that we are seeing a hand or a pearl necklace. And one is left with an intense desire to view the originals, or at least more reproductions than can be found even in this generously illustrated volume. Rouen facade is painted with an uncharacteristic dry, lumpy, accretionary stroke, without fluency the lacy stone details are laboriously transformed into friable baguettes and dim ribs of color.

Obviously, these authors are novelists and poets, not professional art critics. A very different atmosphere surrounds the richard serra sculptures installed at the museum of modern art and mobbed with happy families enjoying the biggest interactive art event in manhattan since christos saffron flags fluttered in a wintry central park over two years ago. Carduffs selection is more than a convenient assemblage of works once scattered among periodicals ranging from golf digest to the new yorker to the aarp magazine (from which he draws a beautiful essay, the writer in winter).

I was interested to learn that joan mir was an admirer of walt whitman. He had already revised many of them on his personal computer and printed them afresh. And so he did, with an exquisite balance of intimacy and detachment, in the centaur (1963), olinger stories (1964) and the tetralogy of novels about rabbit angstrom, from rabbit, run (1960) through rabbit redux (1971), rabbit is rich (1981) and rabbit at rest (1990). Reading always looking, we are grateful for the pleasure of having updikes eloquent voice continue to tell us what he saw, and what he knew and thought about art. In fact, higher gossip is a deftly edited reminder of what a prodigy we have lost.

  • Higher Gossip - Essays and Criticism - By John Updike.Edited by ...


    Nov 10, 2011 ... But among major American literary figures of recent times, John Updike is the one about whom the complaint (too fluent, too lavish, too prolific) ...

    'Always Looking,' by John Updike - The New York Times

    Nov 30, 2012 ... The essays in “Always Looking” display the qualifications of a novelist that John Updike brought to his moonlighting as an art critic.