John Updike: American Writer, American Life

By Bob Batchelor

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Description

John Updike is one of America's greatest writers and critics. Join cultural historian Bob Batchelor for a deep dive into the author's life, work, complexities, and controversies. This podcast tackles the most urgent questions facing literature and pop culture in contemporary America and where culture goes from here. Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/bob-batchelor/support

Episode Date
Episode 5: Updike, 9/11, and Terrorist
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Over the course of his six-decade career stretching from the 1950s to 2000s, great American writer and novelist John Updike received praise from countless critics, including Christopher Hitchens, who called his scope “rather breathtaking,” and from Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times, who said that Updike “established himself as a major and enduring critical voice; indeed, as the preeminent critic of his generation.”

This podcast tackles many of the most urgent questions facing literature and pop culture in contemporary America and where culture goes from here. Some episodes will feature interviews with readers, critics, scholars, academics, and other interested in the life and times of John Updike.

Sometimes the show will be funny, other times, sad, but across the board, it will be informative as we interrogate, examine, and analyze the great American author John Updike. This episode looks at Updike's reaction to the terrorist attacks on New York City on 9/11 and his reaction -- the controversial novel Terrorist

--- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/bob-batchelor/support
Sep 11, 2021
Episode 4: John Updike's Poetry
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John Updike wrote about truth as he imagined the idea and engaged with it in his own life. He believed "God already knows everything and cannot be shocked...only truth, however harsh, is holy." The notion of truth fueled his look into the complexities of life, sometimes beautiful, often messy, and always filled with multitudes. 

Updike saw poetry "as the exercise of language at its highest pitch." Although he is defined by his novels and short stories, I would argue that to understand Updike as a writer and person, an examination of his poetry is essential. The poetry reveals the person, frequently deeply biographical, and always drawing from his immediate world and ideas that he had developed over a lifetime. 

The episode is begun and ended with snippets of "Swing Of The Hip," performed and written by Evan Palazzo of The Hot Sardines. If you love great music, check out Evan and singer Elizabeth Bougerol on social media, YouTube, or on the web. The Hot Sardines are a fantastic jazz band that every music lover will enjoy! 

--- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/bob-batchelor/support
Jun 02, 2021
Episode 3: Who Was John Updike?
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John Updike was born in Pennsylvania in 1932. Much of his early work, including the famed Rabbit novels and many critically acclaimed short stories were set in the state. Examining Updike's PA roots is important in understanding his development as a writer and how that output shaped his "writerly" life. 

I share snippets of a 1983 Updike speech in which he discusses many of these Pennsylvania connections and why he chose to dedicate his artistic life to "middles."

On another note...

I am incredibly honored to feature the fantastic piano piece, called "Swing Of The Hip," written and performed by Evan Palazzo. Evan is the band leader and pianist of The Hot Sardines, the group he and front woman, singer extraordinaire Elizabeth Bougerol created to play the great jazz classics of a century ago, as well as their own original recordings. If you love jazz, you should be listening to The Hot Sardines. Or, once live music kicks off again, see them at one of their many global tour stops. I guarantee seeing THS live is a concert experience you will never forget! For my money, The Hot Sardines are simply the best jazz band playing today!

For more information about The Hot Sardines, visit them online at www.hotsardines.com or at Facebook or Instagram where many thousands of followers gather to get the latest news, music, and information about the band.

--- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/bob-batchelor/support
May 05, 2021
Episode 2: Falling in Love with John Updike
2791

Before the pandemic turned 2020 into a strange, chaotic mess, I made the decision to read some bit of John Updike's work every single day of the year, whether that turned out to be a few lines or hundreds of pages each day. I can't fully explain why, but the idea primarily came from my need to travel American history with Updike and relish in the beautiful sentences he composed over the course a lifetime. 

Long ago, in what seems now like a strange twist of fate, I fell in love with John Updike. Rabbit, Run simply knocked me off my feet at a time when my own life seemed to swirl out of control. The novel didn't fix my problems, but the words gave me insight into how I wanted to live my life. And, perhaps more important, reading about the erstwhile Rabbit Angstrom kicked off a love affair with Updike's work that has nourished me ever since. 

In "Falling in Love with John Updike," I want to share that early story with you and -- perhaps -- give you cause to pick up one of Updike's many works and dive in. 

On another note...

I am incredibly honored to present the fantastic piano introduction, called "Swing Of The Hip," written and played by Evan Palazzo. Evan is the band leader and pianist of The Hot Sardines, the band he and front woman, singer extraordinaire Elizabeth Bougerol created to play the great jazz classics of a century ago along with their own originals. If you love jazz, you've probably seen The Hot Sardines at one of their many global tour stops or listened to them rip live, which I'll guarantee you, is a concert experience you will never forget! For my money, The Hot Sardines are simply the best jazz band playing today!

For more information about The Hot Sardines, visit them online at www.hotsardines.com or at Facebook or Instagram where thousands of followers gather to get the latest news, music, and information about the band.

--- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/bob-batchelor/support
Apr 01, 2021