Self-Consciousness by John Updike

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John Updike’s memoirs consist of six Emersonian essays that together trace the inner shape of the life, up to the age of fifty-five, of a relatively fortunate American male. The author 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, matchlessly precise, and self-effacingly humorous. He takes the reader beyond self-consciousness, and beyond self-importance, into sheer wonder at the miracle of existence.

About John Updike

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John Updike was born in Shillington, Pennsylvania, in 1932. He graduated from Harvard College in 1954 and spent a year in Oxford, England, at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of the staff of The New Yorker. His novels have won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Rosenthal Foundation Award, and the William Dean Howells Medal. In 2007 he received the Gold Medal for Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. John Updike died in January 2009.
Published March 13, 2012 by Random House. 273 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs. Fiction

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The New York Times

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Often in ''Self-Consciousness'' Mr. Updike describes the historical persons who figure in the interlaced plausibilities of his fictions (and then helpfully points out their fictional counterparts in footnotes): his father, for instance, who appears as George Caldwell in ''The Centaur,'' and many ...

Mar 05 1989 | Read Full Review of Self-Consciousness : Memoirs

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