John (Hoyer) Updike 1932–
American novelist, short story writer, poet, critic, and essayist.
Updike is an acute observer of the human condition and an extraordinary stylist. His major subject is the domestic life of the American middle-class and its attendant rituals: marriage, sex, child-rearing, and divorce. Against the placid setting of suburban America and in concurrence with his interpretation of the thought of philosopher Sören Kierkegaard and theologian Karl Barth, Updike presents people—usually men—searching for meaning in the painful awareness of their mortality and basic powerlessness. The tension in Updike's work is often the result of his characters' struggles to determine what is right, to know how to behave as changing individuals in a constantly changing world.
His recent novel, Rabbit Is Rich, continues the story of Harry (Rabbit) Angstrom begun in the acclaimed Rabbit, Run. Rabbit, now wealthy and middle-aged, is involved in taking stock of his life.
(See also CLC, Vols. 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 13, 15; Contemporary Authors, Vols. 1-4, rev. ed.; Contemporary Authors New Revision Series, Vol. 4; Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vols. 2, 5; and Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook: 1980.)