John Updike

Much has been said about John Updike since his death, yesterday. I'd like to give him the opportunity to speak for himself. Here are some quotations. 

"Life is like an overlong drama through which we sit being nagged by the vague memories of having read the reviews."

"Inspiration arrives as a packet of material to be delivered."

"The artist brings something into the world that didn't exist before and he does it without destroying something else."

"Writing and rewriting are a constant search for what it is one is saying."

"We take our bearings, daily, from others. To be sane is, to a great extent, to be sociable."

"America is a vast conspiracy to make you happy."

"A leader is one who, out of madness or goodness, volunteers to take upon himself the woe of the people. There are few men so foolish, hence the erratic quality of leadership in the world."

"Facts are generally overesteemed. For most practical purposes, a thing is what men think it is. When they judged the earth flat, it was flat. As long as men thought slavery tolerable, tolerable it was. We live down here among shadows, shadows among shadows."

"Dreams come true; without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them."

May he rest in peace.

Find more Updike quotations here and here and here and here.
Presented by

The Horrors of Rat Hole Mining

"The river was our source of water. Now, the people won't touch it. They are repulsed by it."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Horrors of Rat Hole Mining

"The river was our source of water. Now, the people won't touch it."

Video

What's Your Favorite Slang Word?

From "swag" to "on fleek," tweens choose.

Video

Cryotherapy's Dubious Appeal

James Hamblin tries a questionable medical treatment.

Video

Confessions of Moms Around the World

In Europe, mothers get maternity leave, discounted daycare, and flexible working hours.

Video

How Do Trees Know When It's Spring?

The science behind beautiful seasonal blooming

More in Entertainment

Just In