Updike: America's Man of Letters

By William H. Pritchard | Go to book overview
Save to active project

NINE
POET, MEMOIRIST

In a 1997 interview with tv's Charlie Rose, its occasion the publication of Toward the End of Time, Updike spoke of his recent literary projects as "packing my bag a little bit." A glance at his work from the past ten or so years shows what he is referring to: Self-Consciousness, his memoir of 1989, he describes as a preemptive strike at would-be biographers, by way of providing at least "the elements of an autobiography." With Rabbit at Rest ( 1990) the Angstrom tetralogy was complete, and in 1993 appeared Collected Poems, 1953-1993, four decades' worth of serious and light verse. "Well, why would you collect your poems unless you were getting ready to go on a journey," he remarked in the interview. Many of the stories in Trust Me ( 1987) and The Afterlife ( 1994) are told from the retrospective viewpoint of an aging man, some of whose circumstances bear similarities to Updike's. In the Beauty of the Lilies ( 1996) is a family chronicle pursued through four generations, and Toward the End of Time ( 1997), while ostensibly a novel set in the future, is remarkably backward-looking in much of its temper. Bech at Bay ( 1998) seemed to have wound up the fortunes of Henry Bech by awarding him the Nobel Prize although he has since reappeared in a story. So on a number of fronts, and with the millennium upon us, Updike's metaphor of packing his bag seems accurate. This chapter deals with his most overtly reminiscential later work: the previously uncollected poems written after 1985, when Facing Nature, his fourth book of verse, appeared; and

-253-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Updike: America's Man of Letters
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 351

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?