* New foreword by the author Praise for the original edition of Buchanan Dying "Buchanan Dying is an abundant, even opulent, creative act . . . very often Mr. Updike's fantastic talent for mimicry produces quite marvelous results." -Arthur Schlesinger Jr., The Atlantic Monthly "Using the excuse of 19th Century speech, Updike has indulged his love of beautiful, ornate prose; we can sink deep into sentences balanced like mobiles and turned like pots on the wheel." -Joyce B. Markle, The Chicago Tribune To the list of John Updike's well-intentioned
* New foreword by the author Praise for the original edition of Buchanan Dying "Buchanan Dying is an abundant, even opulent, creative act . . . very often Mr. Updike's fantastic talent for mimicry produces quite marvelous results." -Arthur Schlesinger Jr., The Atlantic Monthly "Using the excuse of 19th Century speech, Updike has indulged his love of beautiful, ornate prose; we can sink deep into sentences balanced like mobiles and turned like pots on the wheel." -Joyce B. Markle, The Chicago Tribune To the list of John Updike's well-intentioned protagonists-Rabbit Angstrom, George Caldwell, Piet Hanema, Henry Bech-add James Buchanan, of Pennsylvania, the harried fifteenth President of the United States (1857-1861). In a play meant to be read, Buchanan, on his death bed, relives his political and private lives. A wide-ranging afterword rounds out the dramatic portrait of one of America's lesser known and least appreciated leaders. For this edition Updike has written a new foreword, discussing the two productions of the play and the historical context in which it was written. John Updike was born in 1932, in Shillington, Pennsylvania, and has lived in Massachusetts since 1957. He is the author of more than fifty books, and his novels have won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics' Circle Award, and the Howells Medal.
Best known for a series of novels featuring Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, John Updike was one of the 20th century's most distinguished American authors. Over the course of his long, prolific career, he garnered numerous literary awards, including two coveted Pulitzer Prizes!
With an uncommonly varied oeuvre that includes poetry, criticism, essays, short stories, and novels, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner John Updike helped to change the face of late-20th-century American literature.
Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, Updike graduated summa cum laude from Harvard in 1954. Following a year of study in England, he joined the staff of The New Yorker, establishing a relationship with the magazine that continued until his death in January, 2009. For more than 50 years, he lived in two small towns in Massachusetts that inspired the settings for several of his stories.
In 1958, Updike's first collection of poetry was published. A year later, he made his fiction debut with The Poorhouse Fair. But it was his second novel, 1960's Rabbit, Run, that forged his reputation and introduced one of the most memorable characters in American fiction. Former small-town basketball star Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom struck a responsive chord with readers and critics alike and catapulted Updike into the literary stratosphere.
Updike would revisit Angstrom in 1971, 1981, and 1990, chronicling his hapless protagonist's jittery journey into undistinguished middle age in three melancholy bestsellers: Rabbit Redux, Rabbit Is Rich, and Rabbit at Rest. A concluding novella, "Rabbit Remembered," appeared in the 2001 story collection Licks of Love.
Although autobiographical elements appear in the Rabbit books, Updike's true literary alter ego was not Harry Angstrom but Harry Bech, a famously unproductive Jewish-American writer who starred in his own story cycle. In between -- indeed, far beyond -- his successful series, Updike went on to produce an astonishingly diverse string of novels. In addition, his criticism and short fiction became popular staples of distinguished literary publications.
Good To Know
Updike first became entranced by reading when he was a young boy growing up on an isolated farm in Pennsylvania. Afflicted with psoriasis and a stammer, he escaped his self-consciousness by immersing himself in drawing, writing, and reading.
An accomplished artist, Updike accepted a one-year fellowship to study painting at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Arts at Oxford University. He decided to attend Harvard University because he was a big fan of the school's humor magazine, The Harvard Lampoon.
One of the most respected authors of the 20th century, Updike won every major literary prize in America, including the Guggenheim Fellow, the Rosenthal Award, the National Book Award in Fiction, the O. Henry Prize, the American Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Union League Club Abraham Lincoln Award, the National Arts Club Medal of Honor, and the National Medal of the Arts.