Wednesday, January 28, 2009

John Updike, 1932-2009

I must admit to having not read much John Updike -- and most of his work that I have read has been in the form of literary criticism published in The New Yorker. Still, at his death yesterday, Updike was America's preeminent man of letters -- and one who spent much of his life in nearby Beverly -- so I cannot allow his passing to go unremarked.

In a 1990 interview with The Boston Globe, the prolific novelist, poet, essayist and critic said this about writers:
There's a kind of confessional impulse that not every literate, intelligent person has. A crazy belief that you have some exciting news about being alive, and I guess that more than talent is what separates those who do it from those who think they'd like to do it. That your witness to the universe can't be duplicated, that only you can provide it, and that it's worth providing.

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