John Updike, literature’s wide-ranging master, is dead at 76
Oil by Alex Katz Time magazine cover 1982 (via)
As a chronicler of modern life and the anxieties revealed in suburban existence, John Updike has established himself as one of America’s most eminent men of letters.
A conversation with John Updike (In October 2008, John Updike spoke with Sam Tanenhaus, the editor of the Book Review, about the craft of fiction and the art of writing.)
Updike describes this Hopper painting, People in the Sun, 1960, as “unreal,” both in terms of its landscape and its characters.
Without turning to an inner reality, Hopper could not have created Hoppers. they give us back a now-historic world, with its Automats and empty roads and gilded movie palaces, preserved by a still-potent intimacy. (skip) Hopper’s quite personal silence spoke. Having stood before each of the fifty-nine canvases displayed on the third floor, this viewer at the elevator door had an impulse to run back in again, as at some lovelorn parting, and make the encounter yield a final word torn from the depths of what Henry James might have termed “the so beautifully unsaid.” (Still Looking, NPR)
People in the Sun by Edward Hopper
Artist, philosopher, impresario. He changed American culture. You can worship him for that. Or blame him. – .
Warhol’s movies, his books (like those of Gertrude Stein) need audiences with the patience of saints; the wall art conveys a funerary stillness and glitz in one electric glance, and the only saint needed in the room is St. Andy — St. Andy, the benign, wan apostle of surface and nullity, reconciling us to a cluttered world emptied of more than superficial content. His heritage is all around us, wherever reality feels like television and art like a silk-screened Weegee.
Fast Art – New Republic (A review of Andy Warhol)
In the Philosophy, some of his remarks have the penetrating desolation we associate with maximists like La Rochefoucauld and Chamfort. “I think that just being alive is so much work at something you don’t always want to do. Being born is like being kidnapped. And then sold into slavery.” The equation of being born with being kidnapped takes one’s breath away, and the Warhol “works” on display in New York assume a new light when seen as the fruits of a kind of cosmic slavery.
The fifth chapter in that book of memoirs, titled “A Letter to my Grandsons,” is a letter to his first two African-American grandchildren–more such mixed-racial grandchildren would follow since two of his four children married in this manner.
The elements of style – God and sex in Updike’s early stories BY RICHARD C. WALLS
UNHAPPY IN HIS OWN WAY: the overwhelming prose delivers an essential pleasure of reading Updike; either you swill in it or you don’t.
Read his short story Outage (New Yorker magazine)
(March 18, 1932 – Jan 27,2009)