All My Little Words

John Updike

Posted in Uncategorized by nickchristian on January 31, 2009

I was saddened to hear about the death this week of one of the true greats of American letters. I must confess to not having read as much of his work as I would like; I did, however, recently stumble upon this interview containing this rather thought-provoking observation:

“When I was a boy, the bestselling books were often the books that were on your piano teacher’s shelf. I mean, Steinbeck, Hemingway, some Faulkner. Faulkner actually had, considering how hard he is to read and how drastic the experiments are, quite a middle-class readership. But certainly someone like Steinbeck was a bestseller as well as a Nobel Prize-winning author of high intent. You don’t feel that now. I don’t feel that we have the merger of serious and pop — it’s gone, dissolving. Tastes have coarsened. People read less, they’re less comfortable with the written word. They’re less comfortable with novels. They don’t have a backward frame of reference that would enable them to appreciate things like irony and allusions. It’s sad. It’s momentarily uphill, I would say.”

Agree/Disagree? Either way, I encourage you to discuss.

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