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John Updike

Date de naissance: 18. mars 1932
Date de décès: 27. janvier 2009
Autres noms:Con Apdayk,John Hoyer Updike

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John Hoyer Updike est un écrivain américain, auteur de romans, de nouvelles, de poésie et d'essais critiques sur l'art et la littérature. Après avoir accédé à la notoriété internationale avec son roman Le Centaure en 1963 , il rencontre un très grand succès public et critique avec sa tétralogie sur le personnage de Harry « Rabbit » Angstrom : Cœur de lièvre, Rabbit rattrapé, Rabbit est riche et Rabbit en paix, ces deux derniers volumes ayant chacun reçu le prix Pulitzer. John Updike est l'auteur de vingt-six romans et de centaines de nouvelles, de chroniques et de poèmes, travaux publiés en particulier régulièrement dans le New Yorker et la New York Review of Books, et qui ont donné lieu à plusieurs recueils. Il dépeint l'Amérique des petites villes, protestantes et bourgeoises, et accorde une importance récurrente aux thèmes universels du sexe, de la foi, de la mort, et à leurs entrelacements. Son œuvre abondante et variée, quoique souvent considérée comme inégale, vaut à John Updike d'être considéré comme l'un des écrivains américains les plus importants du XXe siècle.

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Citations John Updike

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„Celebrity is a mask that eats into the face.“

— John Updike, Self-Consciousness
Context: Celebrity is a mask that eats into the face. As soon as one is aware of being “somebody,” to be watched and listened to with extra interest, input ceases, and the performer goes blind and deaf in his overanimation. One can either see or be seen. Ch. 6

„I think “taste” is a social concept and not an artistic one.“

— John Updike
Context: I think “taste” is a social concept and not an artistic one. I’m willing to show good taste, if I can, in somebody else’s living room, but our reading life is too short for a writer to be in any way polite. Since his words enter into another’s brain in silence and intimacy, he should be as honest and explicit as we are with ourselves. Interview in New York Times Book Review (10 April 1977). later published in Conversations with John Updike (1994) edited by James Plath, p. 113

„Facts are generally overesteemed. For most practical purposes, a thing is what men think it is.“

— John Updike
Context: Facts are generally overesteemed. For most practical purposes, a thing is what men think it is. When they judged the earth flat, it was flat. As long as men thought slavery tolerable, tolerable it was. We live down here among shadows, shadows among shadows. Act I

„Our brains are no longer conditioned for reverence and awe.“

— John Updike
Context: Our brains are no longer conditioned for reverence and awe. We cannot imagine a Second Coming that would not be cut down to size by the televised evening news, or a Last Judgment not subject to pages of holier-than-Thou second-guessing in The New York Review of Books. Ch. 6

„The pain of the world is a crater all these syrups and pills a thousandfold would fail to fill.“

— John Updike
Context: His insides are beginning to feel sickly. The pain of the world is a crater all these syrups and pills a thousandfold would fail to fill.

„The fullness ends when we give Nature her ransom, when we make children for her. Then she is through with us, and we become, first inside, and then outside, junk. Flower stalks.“

— John Updike
Context: He feels the truth: the thing that has left his life has left irrevocably; no search would recover it. No flight would reach it. It was here, beneath the town, in these smells and these voices, forever behind him. The fullness ends when we give Nature her ransom, when we make children for her. Then she is through with us, and we become, first inside, and then outside, junk. Flower stalks.

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„It's no disgrace to, in the end, restore order. And punish the wicked and, in some way, reward the righteous.“

— John Updike
Context: In the old movies, yes, there always was the happy ending and order was restored. As it is in Shakespeare's plays. It's no disgrace to, in the end, restore order. And punish the wicked and, in some way, reward the righteous.

„It was true of my generation, that the movies were terribly vivid and instructive.“

— John Updike
Context: It was true of my generation, that the movies were terribly vivid and instructive. There were all kinds of things you learned. Like the 19th century novels, you saw how other social classes lived — especially the upper classes. So in a funny way, they taught you manners almost. But also moral manners. The gallantry of a Gary Cooper or an Errol Flynn or Jimmy Stewart. It was ethical instruction of a sort that the church purported to be giving you, but in a much less digestible form. Instead of these remote, crabbed biblical verses, you had contemporary people acting out moral dilemmas. Just the grace, the grace of those stars — not just the dancing stars, but the way they all moved with a certain grace. All that sank deep into my head, and my soul.

„I miss only, and then only a little, in the late afternoon, the sudden white laughter that like heat lightning bursts in an atmosphere where souls are trying to serve the impossible.“

— John Updike
Context: I miss only, and then only a little, in the late afternoon, the sudden white laughter that like heat lightning bursts in an atmosphere where souls are trying to serve the impossible. My father for all his mourning moved in the atmosphere of such laughter. He would have puzzled you. He puzzled me. His upper half was hidden from me, I knew best his legs.

„The city overwhelmed our expectations.“

— John Updike
Context: The city overwhelmed our expectations. The Kiplingesque grandeur of Waterloo Station, the Eliotic despondency of the brick row in Chelsea … the Dickensian nightmare of fog and sweating pavement and besmirched cornices. On London, in “A Madman,” New Yorker (22 December 1962)

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„We live down here among shadows, shadows among shadows.“

— John Updike
Context: Facts are generally overesteemed. For most practical purposes, a thing is what men think it is. When they judged the earth flat, it was flat. As long as men thought slavery tolerable, tolerable it was. We live down here among shadows, shadows among shadows. Act I

„His upper half was hidden from me, I knew best his legs.“

— John Updike
Context: I miss only, and then only a little, in the late afternoon, the sudden white laughter that like heat lightning bursts in an atmosphere where souls are trying to serve the impossible. My father for all his mourning moved in the atmosphere of such laughter. He would have puzzled you. He puzzled me. His upper half was hidden from me, I knew best his legs.

„Vocations drying up, nobody wants to be selfless any more, everybody wants their fun.“

— John Updike
Context: Now nuns have blended into everybody else or else faded away. Vocations drying up, nobody wants to be selfless any more, everybody wants their fun. No more nuns, no more rabbis. No more good people, waiting to have their fun in the afterlife. The thing about the afterlife, it kept this life within bounds somehow, like the Russians. Now there's just Japan, and technology, and the profit motive, and getting all you can while you can.

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