Self-Consciousness

Self-Consciousness

by John Updike
     
 

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John Updike’s memoirs consist of six chapters in which he writes of his home town, his psoriasis, his stuttering, his discomfort during the Vietnam war, his Updike ancestors, and his religion and sense of self. These essays together give the inner shape of a life, up to the age of fifty-five, of a relatively fortunate American male. He has attempted, his

Overview

John Updike’s memoirs consist of six chapters in which he writes of his home town, his psoriasis, his stuttering, his discomfort during the Vietnam war, his Updike ancestors, and his religion and sense of self. These essays together give the inner shape of a life, up to the age of fifty-five, of a relatively fortunate American male. He has attempted, his foreword states, “to treat this life, this massive datum which happens to be mine, as a specimen life, representative in its odd uniqueness of all the oddly unique lives in this world.” In the service of this metaphysical effort, he has been hair-raisingly honest and beautifully eloquent, not to say, in a number of places, self-effacingly funny. He takes the reader beyond self-consciousness, into sheer wonder at the world and its fabric.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Fascinating . . . These memoirs, often unabashedly philosophical, take us inside Updike’s mind in the way that biography almost never can.”—Chicago Tribune
 
 “Opulent . . . charming . . . [Updike’s] best writing, like Nabokov’s, is the prose of rapture.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Poignant . . . wonderfully crafted recollections . . . One completes this book wanting to convey some signal of gratitude, some affectionate reader’s embrace, to this good boy of a grown man who has striven so earnestly and masterly to describe life.”—Chicago Sun-Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780394572222
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/01/1989
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.81(w) x 8.67(h) x 1.08(d)

What People are saying about this

Christopher Lehmann-Haupt
. . .one persists in approaching memoirs like Self-Consciousness wondering what more there is for the author to say. Not surprisingly, considering Mr. Updike's prolific articulateness, there is a great deal more. . . .Yet at the end of Self-Consciousness, none of Mr. Updike's puzzles are solved.. . . you sense that for him the only verity remains what it always has been: writing is all. -- The New York Times

Meet the Author

John Updike was the author of more than sixty books, eight of them collections of poetry. His novels, including The Centaur, Rabbit Is Rich, and Rabbit at Rest, won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the William Dean Howells Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He died in January 2009.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
March 18, 1932
Date of Death:
January 27, 2009
Place of Birth:
Shillington, Pennsylvania
Place of Death:
Beverly Farms, MA
Education:
A.B. in English, Harvard University, 1954; also studied at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in Oxford, England

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