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Due Considerations by John Updike - Penguin Random …

The last, informal section of assembles more or less autobiographical pieces—reminiscences, friendly forewords, comments on the author's own recent works, and responses to probing questions.

Review: Due Considerations: Essays and Criticism, by John Updike The critic beyond criticism

And Hawthorne, who spent the years of his youth haunting Salem, writing in an attic, walking out mostly at dusk, chiefly consorting with an eccentrically shy mother and a strong- minded sister who was, it has been speculated, a virtual wife to him– how does this strangeness feed into the strangeness of his work, lending it a shadowy intensity and an evasive reliance upon whimsy and the play of fancy?

Due Considerations: Essays and Criticism - Publishers Weekly

John Updike contributed fiction, poetry, essays, and criticism to The New Yorker for a half century

It is not unread by Updike, though, who goes on to place book and author in their historic and cultural context with humor, affection and respect. He reminds us of what that perfect crank was truly up to: "Thoreau's purpose is to reconcile us, after centuries of hazy anthropocentrism, to Nature as it is, relentless and remorseless. We need to be called out from the shared comforts and illusions of village life." It's a sharp insight, particularly from a writer whose life's work has been the examination of those shared comforts and illusions, no matter how large and sophisticated the village.

“Every novelist becomes, to a degree, an architect,” a builder of “castles in air,” wrote the prolific American author John Updike, whose last book was Due Considerations: Essays and Criticism.

Due Considerations: Essays and Criticism John Updike, Author

Due Considerations Essays & Criticism by John Updike

Some of the most enlightening pieces are gathered in the chapter "Introductions," 13 essays Updike wrote as introductions to recent editions of well-known books (and a couple of photo collections).

In his introduction to the 150th anniversary edition of Henry David Thoreau's Walden, Updike gets directly to the point in the first sentence: "A century and a half after its initial publication, Walden has become such a totem of the back-to-nature, preservationist, anti-business, civil-disobedience mind-set, and Thoreau so vivid a protestor, so perfect a crank and hermit saint, that the book itself risks being as revered and unread as the Bible."

Due Considerations Essays and Criticism.
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Due considerations : essays and criticism - Brigham …

The cultural situation at the turn of the last century might be said to have been sickly; but Yeats and Proust and Joyce all took their beginnings in it.

Essays and Criticism John Updike.

Something of the same disproportion affects the case of Jane Austen, another exalted literary performer about whom we seem to know too little, so that the recent biography by Claire Tomalin must pad its substance with a wealth of detail about the general period in which Austen lived.

Literary biography in all cases runs up against this limit of determinism: there is no clear reason why one secluded clergyman’s daughter should have been a literary genius while hundreds of others were not.

Buy Due Considerations: Essays and Criticism Book …

The book's final chapter, "Personal Considerations," consists of a variety of short pieces: Updike's forewords to some of his own works, brief articles written for magazines on topics such as his education at Harvard, a very funny interview of himself conducted by his fictional creation Henry Bech.

Read Due Considerations: Essays and Criticism …

Not all of Due Considerations is literary criticism. There are essays on travel, architecture and religion, as well as charming short personal pieces about poker and cars. One chapter is devoted to lovely essays about James Thurber and E.B. White, who were, like Updike, on the New Yorker staff. And he's unable to resist tucking in a few pieces about art, from works by Durer and Bruegel to cartoons by Saul Steinberg and William Steig.

Due Considerations: Essays and Criticism Paperback – 30 Sep 2008

Due Considerations includes more than 50 reviews of recent novels, biographies, nonfiction and more. The range is impressive, as is Updike's ability to draw readers into even the most complex books. His review of Margaret Atwood's novel The Blind Assassin is a case in point. He begins by helpfully breaking down its intricate, multilayered plot into five levels, then goes on to praise Atwood's poetic use of language and consider how her feminism influences the book's relationships - then whacks us upside the head, just as Atwood does, with the book's final, coolly brilliant bleakness.

Due Considerations: Essays and Criticism ..

A chapter titled "Monuments" takes a clear-eyed look at everything from the Pentateuch to The Wizard of Oz. Here Updike performs a graceful rebalancing act in his evaluation of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. On the one hand, he raises an elegant brow at the tone of the recent annotated version by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Hollis Robbins, in which snark like "Without good looks or interesting verbiage to keep us interested, I am close to turning the page" passes for scholarly annotation. On the other hand, he counters Jane Smiley's excess of enthusiasm for Cabin in her notorious essay "Say It Ain't So, Huck," in which she argued that Stowe's book would have been a finer inspiration for American literature than Mark Twain's masterpiece.

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