John Updike (1932–2009)

  1. Christopher MacGowan

Published Online: 24 FEB 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781444393675.ch29

The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook

The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook

How to Cite

MacGowan, C. (2011) John Updike (1932–2009), in The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444393675.ch29

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 24 FEB 2012
  2. Published Print: 21 JAN 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405160230

Online ISBN: 9781444393675



  • John Updike (1932–2009);
  • John Updike, publishing - more than 20 novels, short stories, essays, reviews and poems, in The New Yorker;
  • novels and stories, concerned with middle-class Americans - in small towns or suburbs, lives revolving around religious doubt, love, boredom, marriage, adultery and children;
  • Updike, later claiming, his literary ambitions - growing “out of sheer boredom”;
  • Updike's first book, a book of poetry, The Carpentered Hen and Other Tame Creatures (1958) - publishing his first novel, The Poorhouse Fair;
  • Updike's next book, Rabbit, Run (1960) - probably his best-known work;
  • novel putting it, between “the right way and the good way” - his difficult choice;
  • Rabbit Redux (1971) - finding the protagonist, aged 36 and back with wife, Janice;
  • The Rabbit series, not the only group of related novels - Updike publishing, his best known;
  • Updike's last novel, The Widows of Eastwick (2008) - published a year before his death, story of the three central characters 30 years after their escapades


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Bibliography