Does anyone know what inspired John Updike's short story 'Archangel', a beautiful but mystifying (to me anyway) piece of prose?The 'story' reads more like poetry than prose and seems to present a...

Does anyone know what inspired John Updike's short story 'Archangel', a beautiful but mystifying (to me anyway) piece of prose?

The 'story' reads more like poetry than prose and seems to present a series of images of perfection. When I first read it I felt it had a psalm-like quality and this would at least loosely connect with the title but that's about as far as I got with it. I'm not necessarily asking for an 'explanation' because much literature remains beautiful in mystery (Eliot is probably my favourite in this regard), but I would like to hear some impressions from other readers. Thanks.

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Interesting reading of this.  I happened to pick up Pigeon Feathers last week at a thrift store and reading through it I was really struck by this piece (prose? poem?).  I've read it over several times and I think it may be Updike's Muse, a kind of stream-of-consciousness description that came to him as his career was just beginning to take off and he was coming to grips with what was happening to him.  To me, its a spiritual, non-religious vision of what lives and breathes in every artist.

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