John Updike Remembered

Friends, Family and Colleagues Reflect on the Writer and the Man


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About the Book

Fifty-three individuals present a prismatic view of the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and his work through anecdote and insight. Interviews and essays from family, friends and associates reveal sides of the novelist perhaps unfamiliar to the public—the high school prankster, the golfer, the creator of bedtime stories, the charming ironist, the faithful correspondent with scholars, the devoted friend and the dedicated practitioner of his craft.
The contributors include his first wife, Mary Pennington, and three of their children; high school and college friends; authors John Barth, Joyce Carol Oates and Nicholson Baker; journalists Terri Gross and Ann Goldstein; and scholars Jay Parini, William Pritchard, James Plath, and Adam Begley, Updike’s biographer.

About the Author(s)

Jack A. De Bellis, a professor emeritus at Lehigh University, was a founder of the John Updike Society (and a director 2009–2014) and is an editor of the John Updike Review. He lives in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Jack A. De Bellis
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 229
Bibliographic Info: appendix, notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6706-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3018-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 3
Part I—Shillington and Plowville, 1932–50: Interviews with Updike’s Classmates from Kindergarten through High School 9
1. Ann M. Weik (Cassar) 10
2. Jim Trexler 15
3. Gerry Potts 16
4. The Rev. Dr. Robert I. Rhoads, Sr. 18
5. Shirley F. Smith (Berger) 24
6. Joan P. Venne (Youngerman) 28
7. Jackie J. Hirneisen (Kendall) 33
8. Richard W. Manderbach 35
9. Barry R. Nelson 37
10. Emerson W. Gundy 39
11. Harlan L. Boyer 42
12. The Rev. Victor Kroninger 48
13. Jack E. Guerin 49
14. Barbara L. Hartz (Behney) 53
15. Tony VanLiew 56
16. Joan Borner (Conrad) 61
17. Nancy A. March (LeVan) 64
18. Myrtle Council 66
19. Benarda A. Palm 69
Part II—Harvard and New York, 1950–57: Writers Recall the Early Years 73
20. John Hubbard: “Updike at the Harvard Lampoon” 74
21. Austin Briggs: “John Updike’s First Fan Letter” 76
22. Jeffrey Ludwig: “Roommates and Rivals: John Updike and Christopher Lasch at Harvard” 79
23. Mary P. Weatherall: “John at Harvard” 83
Part III—Ipswich, Massachusetts, 1957–75: Looking Back
and Moving Forward 87
24. Nicholas Delbanco: “R.I.P.” 88
25. Catherine Hiller: “Groping for the Truth” 91
Part IV—Beverly Farms: 1976–2009: Writers, Fans, Friends
and Family Reflect and Reminisce 95
26. John Barth: “Remembering John Updike” 97
27. Stephen Bergman [Samuel Shem]: “My Dear Friend John Updike” 98
28. William H. Pritchard: “John Updike” 101
29. Jack De Bellis: “Updike in Sync” 104
30. Burl N. Corbett: “The Centaur’s Son” 107
31. Jay Parini: “Updike and the Numinous” 112
32. Claude Clayton Smith: “Touching Genius: John Updike’s Odd Obsession” 114
33. Nicholson Baker: From U & I 118
34. Nicholson Baker: “The Nod” 120
35. Lini S. Kadaba: “Who Was John Updike?—Ask His Driver” 121
36. Harry Charles Buck Niehoff: “John Updike: Gentleman” 127
37. Roxana Robinson: “John Updike” 129
38. James Schiff: “Updike as Correspondent, Literary Performer, and Composer of Sentences” 131
39. Stephanie Vanderslice: “My John Updike” 137
40. Terry Gross: “The Problem I Had in Common with John Updike” 138
41. James Plath: “Fringe Benefit” 139
42. Adam Begley: “Updike’s Dangerous Charm” 145
43. Lynne Davis: “My Night with John Updike” 147
44. Avis Grey Hewitt: “Knowing John Updike” 149
45. Donald J. Greiner: “Creating John Updike” 151
46. Robert M. Luscher: “John Updike: Short Fiction, Long Impression” 156
47. D. Quentin Miller: “All the Clever Young Men” 161
48. Richard A. Davison: “Brief Encounters with Updike (2002–2008)” 167
49. Robert Wilson: “Updike at Rest” 170
50. Joyce Carol Oates: “Remembering John Updike” 171
Part V—Family Remembrances 173
51. Elizabeth Updike Cobblah: “Remembering Daddy” 173
52. David H. Updike: “A Toast to the Visible World: Remembering John Updike” 175
53. Miranda Updike Freyleue: “Reflections on My Father” 177
54. Updike Family Panel in Reading, Pennsylvania 178
Appendix: A Chronology of John Updike’s Life and Works 189
Chapter Notes 195
An Updike Bibliography 205
General Bibliography 207
Index 209