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Week 4: John Updike and 1950s America

Novel: Rabbit, Run

General Reading:

Samuel Beckoff, John Updike’s Rabbit, Run and Rabbit, Redux: A Critical Commentary (New York, 1974).

Marshall Boswell, John Updike’s Rabbit Tetralogy: Mastered Irony in Motion (Columbia and London, 2001). Introduction and Chapter 1.

Malcolm Bradbury, The Modern American Novel (Oxford, 1992). Chapter 6.

John-Paul Colgan, ‘Going it Alone but Running out of Gas: America’s Borders in John Updike’s Rabbit Novels’, Irish Journal of American Studies, 11/12 (2002/2003), pp. 73-86. Available online via JSTOR.

Miles Donald, The American Novel in the Twentieth Century (Newton Abbot, 1978). Chapter 2.

Donald Greiner, John Updike’s Novels (London, 1984). Chapter 2, ‘Why Rabbit Should keep on Running’.

Erik Kielland-Lund, ‘The Americanness of Rabbit, Run: A Transatlantic View’ in Stanley Trachtenberg (ed.), New Essays on Rabbit, Run (Cambridge, 1993), pp. 77-94.

D. Quentin Miller, John Updike and the Cold War: Drawing the Iron Curtain (London, 2001), Introduction, chapters 1 and 2.

Sanford Pinkster, ‘John Updike, Harry (Rabbit) Angstrom, and I’, Sewanee Review, 117:3 (2009), pp. 492-4. Available online via MUSE

Basem L. Ra’ad, ‘Updike’s New Versions of Myth in America’, Modern Fiction Studies, 37:1 (1991), pp. 25-33. Available online via MUSE

Derek Wright, ‘Mapless Motion: Form and Space in Updike’s Rabbit, Run’, Modern Fiction Studies, 37:1 (1991), pp. 35-44. Available online via MUSE

 

 

Themes to be considered and further reading: religion in the modern world, spiritual crisis, family values, middle America, suburbia

 

1. Crisis of religion and spirituality

Marshall Boswell, John Updike’s Rabbit Tetralogy: Mastered Irony in Motion (Columbia and London, 2001). Chapter 1.

Marshall Boswell, ‘Rabbit (Un)Redeemed: The Drama of Belief in John Updike’s Fiction’, Modern Fiction Studies, 53:1 (2007), pp. 191-4. Available online via MUSE

Terrence Doody, ‘Updike’s Idea of Reification’, Contemporary Literature, 20:2 (1979), pp. 204-20.

Kathryn Hume, American Dream, American Nightmare: Fiction since 1960 (Urbana and Chicago, 2000). Chapter 4.

Thaddeus Muradian, ‘The World of Updike’, The English Journal, 54:7 (1965), pp. 577-584. Available online via JSTOR

Kyle Pasewark, ‘The Troubles with Harry: Freedom, American and God in John Updike’s Rabbit Novels’, Religion and American Culture, 6:1 (1996), pp. 1-33. Available online via JSTOR

Sanford Pinsker, ‘Restlessness in the 1950s: What Made Rabbit Run?’ in Stanley Trachtenberg (ed.), New Essays on Rabbit, Run (Cambridge, 1993), pp. 53-76.

Richard Rupp, Celebration in Postwar American Fiction, 1945-1967 (Coral Gables, 1970). Chapter 3.

Bernard Schopen, ‘Faith, Morality, and the Novels of John Updike’ in William MacNaughton (ed.), Critical Essays on John Updike (Boston, 1982), pp. 195-206. Also available online via JSTOR in Twentieth Century Literature, 24:4 (1978), pp. 523-535.

Victor Strandberg, ‘John Updike and the Changing of the Gods’ in William MacNaughton (ed.), Critical Essays on John Updike (Boston, 1982), pp. 175-94.

Matthew Wilson, ‘The Rabbit Tetralogy: From Solitude to Society to Solitude Again’ in Lawrence Broer (ed.), Rabbit Tales: Poetry and Politics in John Updike’s Rabbit Novels (Tuscaloosa, 1998), pp. 89-110.

Ralph Wood, ‘Rabbit Angstrom: John Updike’s Ambiguous Pilgram’ in Lawrence Broer (ed.), Rabbit Tales: Poetry and Politics in John Updike’s Rabbit Novels (Tuscaloosa, 1998), pp. 129-49.

Ralph Wood, ‘John Updike’s “Rabbit” saga’, Religion Online, 2009. http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=1275

Norris Yates, ‘The Doubt and Faith of John Updike’, College English, 26:6 (1965), pp. 469-74. Available online via JSTOR

 

2. Family Values and (the nightmare of) Suburbia

Kerry Ahearn, ‘Family and Adultery: Images and Ideas in Updike’s Rabbit Novels’, Twentieth Century Literature, 34:1 (1988), pp. 62-83. Available Online via JSTOR

Robert Beuka, SuburbiaNation: Reading Suburban Landscape in Twentieth-Century American Fiction and Film (New York, 2004).

Gerry Brenner, ‘Rabbit, Run: John Updike’s Criticism of the “Return to Nature” in William MacNaughton (ed.), Critical Essays on John Updike (Boston, 1982), pp. 91-104. Also available online via JSTOR in Twentieth Century Literature, 12:1 (1966), pp. 3-14.

Clinton Burhans, ‘Things Falling Apart: Structure and Theme in Rabbit, Run’ in William MacNaughton (ed.), Critical Essays on John Updike (Boston, 1982), pp. 148-62.

Jeff H. Campbell, ‘Middling, Hidden, Troubled America: John Updike’s Rabbit Tetralogy’ in Lawrence Broer (ed.), Rabbit Tales: Poetry and Politics in John Updike’s Rabbit Novels (Tuscaloosa, 1998), pp. 34-49.

Tony Hilfer, American Fiction Since 1940 (London and New York, 1992). Chapter 7.

Catherine Jurca, White Diaspora: The Suburb and the Twentieth-Century American Novel (Princeton, 2001).

Stacey Olster, ‘ “Unadorned Woman, Beauty’s Home Image”: Updike’s Rabbit, Run’ in Stanley Trachtenberg (ed.), New Essays on Rabbit, Run (Cambridge, 1993), pp. 95-118.

James Plath, ‘Verbal Vermeer: Updike’s Middle-Class Portraiture’ in Lawrence Broer (ed.), Rabbit Tales: Poetry and Politics in John Updike’s Rabbit Novels (Tuscaloosa, 1998), pp. 207-230.

Tony Tanner, City of Words: American Fiction, 1950-1970 (London, 1971). Chapter 12.

 

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