Was there a simple explanation to account for John Updike’s staggering productivity? In a career that lasted more than fifty years, he published more than sixty volumes of fiction, nonfiction, and verse, along with a handful of children’s books.
In the above video, taped at a recent Library of America event in Philadelphia celebrating the publication of John Updike: Novels 1959–1965, New Yorker staff writer and LOA Trustee Adam Gopnik reveals what Updike himself once told him about the issue. It’s an explanation that also generously acknowledges the vast output of Updike’s prolific contemporary Philip Roth.
(We note that Gopnik has written nearly a dozen works of nonfiction, most recently A Thousand Small Sanities: The Moral Adventure of Liberalism, and also edited the Library of America collection Americans in Paris: A Literary Anthology.)
Gopnik was speaking at the Free Library of Philadelphia at an event co-presented by LOA and the Rosenbach, a Philadelphia nonprofit library and museum, on March 12 of this year. His complete talk is available for viewing here.