A few years back I wrote the subject of this book to ask how he would feel about my undertaking such a project. His reply, prompt and courteous as ever, was something to the effect of blessings on it as long as it wasn't a biography. So I have tried not to bother him with questions about either his life or his writings. The main encourager, supporter, and obliging reader chapter by chapter has been Warner Berthoff, whose knowledge of American and other literature is prodigious, and whose particular admiration of Updike's work has set a standard of appreciation for me. I should like also to thank Rand Richards Cooper and Lawrence Douglas, who read the completed manuscript and made useful suggestions. Thanks also to Harvard University's Houghton Library, where I consulted Updike's early unpublished novel Home and where I was overwhelmed by the decades' worth of manuscripts and letters that, someday, a biographer will need to consult.
As always, Amherst College, especially Dean of Faculty Lisa Raskin, has been hospitable toward funding incidental expenses. The Amherst College Library's archives contain, by the gift of Jack W. C. Hagstrom, a large collection of Updike's works in the original and in translations, which I have perused with interest. For help with various technological matters I'm indebted to Susan Raymond-Fic, Julie Howland, and Laura Moser. My editor, Alan Lelchuk, has been an ideal one, whose real criticisms have I hope made this a better book.