Bech Additional Summary

John Updike


(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Further Reading

Bech, Henry [John Updike]. “Henry Bech Redux.” The New York Times Book Review, November 14, 1971, p. 3. A self-interview by Updike, indulging in mild self-satire in the voice of Henry Bech critiquing and interrogating his creator.

Detweiler, Robert. John Updike. Rev. ed. New York: Twayne, 1984. Analyzes Bech: A Book in the context of Updike’s overall canon, noting its unique comedy and overall themes while explicating individual stories in a chapter titled “The Protestant as Jew.”

Greiner, Donald. John Updike’s Novels. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1984. Places Bech in the context of Updike’s remarks on the American writer’s situation and provides analysis of Bech’s artistic plight and Updike’s satiric stance.

Hamilton, Alice, and Kenneth Hamilton. “Metamorphosis Through Art: John Updike’s Bech: A Book.” Queen’s Quarterly 77 (1970): 624-636. Early study of the volume’s themes, emphasizing Bech’s plight as a struggling artist.

Luscher, Robert M. John Updike: A Study of the Short Fiction. New York: Twayne, 1993. Focuses on the volume as a short-story sequence, emphasizing the overall themes and the stories’ interrelatedness in a chapter titled “Blocked Art and Bygone Ardor: Bech’s Burden.”

Ozick, Cynthia. “Bech, Passing.” In Art and Ardor: Essays. New York: Knopf, 1983. Notes shortcomings of Updike’s depiction of a Jewish protagonist who mostly resembles the author but is surrounded by ethnic trappings.

Pinsker, Sanford. “Updike, Ethnicity, and Jewish-American Drag.” In The Cambridge Companion to John Updike, edited by Stacey Olster. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Analyzes how Updike’s portrayal of Bech as a Jewish writer evolved during Updike’s career, specifically within the context of Jewish American literature.

Siegel, Lee. “Updike’s Bech.” In Falling Upwards: Essays in Defense of the Imagination. New York: Basic Books, 2006. This chapter in a larger study of the literary imagination focuses on Updike’s act of imagining himself as a (Jewish) other in the person of Henry Bech.

Taylor, Larry E. Pastoral and Anti-pastoral Patterns in John Updike’s Fiction. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1971. Remarks on Bech’s appearance as a different direction for Updike, with special attention to tying the stories’ pastoral themes to Updike’s other fiction.