John Updike's Rabbit Tetralogy: Mastered Irony in Motion

By Marshall Boswell | Go to book overview

Introduction
Rabbit Rebound
Mastered Irony and the Mega-Novel

John Updike published Rabbit, Run, the first of his four novels about Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, in 1960. Rabbit Redux, the second installment in the series, came out in the fall of 1971. The third and fourth installments, Rabbit Is Rich and Rabbit at Rest, followed in 1981 and 1990, respectively. All totaled, the four-part series—or tetralogy—took John Updike nearly thirty years to complete. This is not to suggest that Updike spent thirty years working only on the Rabbit tetralogy. In fact, between each installment he continued to produce a prolific stream of novels, essays, short stories, and poems. What's more, each Rabbit novel is cast in the present tense and is set in the year or so just prior to its publication date: Rabbit, Run takes place in 1959, Rabbit Redux in 1969, and so on. Updike could only have written each Rabbit novel in the final year of whatever decade that particular installment explores. Indeed, this tidy, decade-by-decade structure has served as one of the tetralogy's most popular features: fans of the series can check their own experiences against that of Updike's gruff, hard-hearted Toyota salesman. In this regard, the Rabbit novels serve as a fictionalized time line of the postwar American experience.

All of which is no less than what Updike always intended. In his Introduction to Rabbit Angstrom, the 1995 Everyman's Library omnibus edition of the completed tetralogy, he describes the novels as “a kind of running commentary on the state of my hero and his nation” whose “ideal reader” is “a fellow-American who had read and remembered the

-1-

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.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
John Updike's Rabbit Tetralogy: Mastered Irony in Motion
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • A Note on the Texts xi
  • John Updike's Rabbit Tetralogy *
  • Introduction - Mastered Irony and the Mega-Novel 1
  • One - Kierkegaard, Updike, and the Zigzag of Angst 26
  • Two - The Doorway into Utter Confusion 76
  • Three - More Stately Mansions 130
  • Four - Repetition and Recapitulation 186
  • Conclusion - Inside America 231
  • Bibliography 241
  • Index 247
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
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?

Help
Full screen
/ 254

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.