John Updike Quotes About Per

Browse 28 famous quotes of John Updike about Per.

"Not only are selves conditional but they die. Each day, we wake slightly altered, and the person we were yesterday is dead. So why, one could say, be afraid of death, when death comes all the time?" ~ John Updike
"Writing … is an addiction, an illusory release, a presumptuous taming of reality, a way of expressing lightly the unbearable. That we age and leave behind this litter of dead, unrecoverable selves is both unbearable and the commonest thing in the world — it happens to everybody. In the morning light one can write breezily, without the slight acceleration of one's pulse, about what one cannot contemplate in the dark without turning in panic to God. In the dark one truly feels that immense sliding, that turning of the vast earth into darkness and eternal cold, taking with it all the furniture and scenery, and the bright distractions and warm touches, of our lives. Even the barest earthly facts are unbearably heavy, weighted as they are with our personal death. Writing, in making the world light — in codifying, distorting, prettifying, verbalizing it — approaches blasphemy." ~ John Updike
"Museums and bookstores should feel, I think, like vacant lots - places where the demands on us are our own demands, where the spirit can find exercise in unsupervised play." ~ John Updike
"For many men, work is the effective religion, a ritual occupation and inflexible orientation which permits them to imagine that the problem of their personal death has been solved. Unamuno: ‘Work is the only practical consolation for having been born.' My own chosen career — its dispersal and multiplication of the self through publication, its daily excretion of yet more words, the eventual reifying of those words into books — certainly is a practical consolation, a kind of bicycle which, if I were ever to stop pedaling, would dump me flat on my side. Religion enables us to ignore nothingness and get on with the jobs of life." ~ John Updike
"How many more, I must ask myself,such perfect ends of Augusts will I witness?" ~ John Updike
"He showed the world what can be done against the odds, against a superpower. He showed -- and this is where Vietnam and Iraq come in, that in a war between an imperialist occupier and the people who actually live there, the people will eventually prevail. They know the terrain. They have more at stake. They have nowhere else to go." ~ John Updike
"Atrocity is truly emperor; All things that thrive are slaves of cruel Creation." ~ John Updike
"A woman once of some height, she is bent small, and the lingering strands of black look dirty in her white hair. She carries a cane, but in forgetfulness, perhaps, hangs it over her forearm and totters along with it dangling loose like an outlandish bracelet. Her method of gripping her gardener is this: he crooks his right arm, pointing his elbow toward her shoulder, and she shakily brings her left forearm up within his and bears down heavily on his wrist with her lumpish freckled fingers. Her hold is like that of a vine to a wall; one good pull will destroy it, but otherwise it will survive all weathers." ~ John Updike
"We expect the world of doctors. Out of our own need, we revere them; we imagine that their training and expertise and saintly dedication have purged them of all the uncertainty, trepidation, and disgust that we would feel in their position, seeing what they see and being asked to cure it. Blood and vomit and pus do not revolt them; senility and dementia have no terrors; it does not alarm them to plunge into the slippery tangle of internal organs, or to handle the infected and contagious. For them, the flesh and its diseases have been abstracted, rendered coolly diagrammatic and quickly subject to infallible diagnosis and effective treatment. The House of God is a book to relieve you of these illusions; it … displays it as farce, a melee of blunderers laboring to murky purpose under corrupt and platitudinous superiors." ~ John Updike
"Nadie nos pertenece, salvo en el recuerdo." ~ John Updike
"I Missed His Book, But I Read His Name"Though authors are a dreadful clanTo be avoided if you can,I'd like to meet the Indian,M. Anantanarayanan.I picture him as short and tan.We'd meet, perhaps, in Hindustan.I'd say, with admirable elan ,"Ah, Anantanarayanan --I've heard of you. The Times once ranA notice on your novel, anUnusual tale of God and Man."And AnantanarayananWould seat me on a lush divanAnd read his name -- that sumptuous spanOf 'a's and 'n's more lovely than"In Xanadu did Kubla Khan" --Aloud to me all day. I planHenceforth to be an ardent fanof Anantanarayanan --M. Anantanarayanan." ~ John Updike
"I drive my car to supermarket,The way I take is superhigh,A superlot is where I park it,And Super Suds are what I buy.Supersalesmen sell me tonic -Super-Tone-O, for Relief.The planes I ride are supersonic.In trains, I like the Super Chief.Supercilious men and womenCall me superficial - me,Who so superbly learned to swim inSupercolossality.Superphosphate-fed foods feed me;Superservice keeps me new.Who would dare to supersede me,Super-super-superwho?" ~ John Updike
"On being conscious of being a writer: As soon as one is aware of being "somebody," to be watched and listened to with extra interest, input ceases, and the performer goes blind and deaf in his overanimation. [...] Most of the best fiction is written out of early impressions, taken in before the writer became conscious of himself as a writer. The best seeing is done by the hunted and the hunter, the vulnerable and the hungry; the "successful" writer acquires a film over his eyes. His eyes get fat. Self-importance is a thickened, occluding form of self-consciousness. The binge, the fling, the trip – all attempt to shake the film and get back under the dinning-room table, with a child's beautifully clear eyes." ~ John Updike
"Heade's calm is unsteady, storm-stirred; we respond in our era to its hint of the nervous and the fearful. His weather is interior weather, in a sense, and he perhaps was, if far from the first to portray a modern mood, an ambivalent mood tinged with dread and yet imbued with a certain lightness.The mood could even be said to be religious: not an aggressive preachment of God's grandeur but a kind of Zen poise and acceptance, represented by the small sedentary or plodding foreground figures that appear uncannily at peace as the clouds blacken and the lightning flashes." ~ John Updike
"Nevertheless, we react to one a bit differently than we do to Rothko's hovering panels or Barnett Newman's stripes, though Whistler does approach their extremity of abstraction; part of our pleasure lies in recognizing bridges and buildings in the mist, and in sensing the damp riverine silence, the glimmering metropolitan presence. … The painting - a single blurred stripe of urban shore - is additionally daring in that the sky and sea are no shade of blue, but, instead, an improbable, pervasive cobalt green. Human vision is here taken to its limits, and modern painting, as a set of sensations realized in paint, is achieved." ~ John Updike
"From earliest childhood I was charmed by the materials of my craft, by pencils and paper and, later, by the typewriter and the entire apparatus of printing. To condense from one's memories and fantasies and small discoveries dark marks on paper which become handsomely reproducible many times over still seems to me, after nearly 30 years concerned with the making of books, a magical act, and a delightful technical process. To distribute oneself thus, as a kind of confetti shower falling upon the heads and shoulders of mankind out of bookstores and the pages of magazines is surely a great privilege and a defiance of the usual earthbound laws whereby human beings make themselves known to one another." ~ John Updike
"A woman's beauty lies, not in any exaggeration of the specialized zones, nor in any general harmony that could be worked out by means of the sectio aurea or a similar aesthetic superstition; but in the arabesque of the spine. The curve by which the back modulates into the buttocks. It is here that grace sits and rides a woman's body." ~ John Updike
"In that latitude the temperature flirted with a hundred degrees for a few of the dog days, but to a child it can hardly ever be too hot. I liked the sun licking the backs of my legs, and the sweat between my shoulder blades, and the violet evenings, with ice cream and fireflies, wherein the long day slowly cooled. I liked the ants piling up dirt like coffee grounds between the bricks of our front walk, and the milkweed spittle in the vacant lot next door. I liked the freedom of shorts, sneakers, and striped T-shirt, with freckles and a short hot-weather haircut.We love easily in summer, perhaps, because we love our summer selves." ~ John Updike
"Evening Concert, Sainte-Chapelle" The celebrated windows flamed with lightdirectly pouring north across the Seine;we rustled into place. Then violinsvaunting Vivaldi's strident strength, then Brahms,seemed to suck with their passionate sweetness,bit by bit, the vigor from the red,the blazing blue, so that the listening eyesaw suddenly the thick black lines, in shapesof shield and cross and strut and brace, that heldthe holy glowing fantasy together.The music surged; the glow became a milk,a whisper to the eye, a glimmer ebbeduntil our beating hearts, our violinswere cased in thin but solid sheets of lead." ~ John Updike
"Writers take words seriously—perhaps the last professional class that does—and they struggle to steer their own through the crosswinds of meddling editors and careless typesetters and obtuse and malevolent reviewers into the lap of the ideal reader." ~ John Updike
"The Sometime Sportsman Greets the Springby John UpdikeWhen winter's glaze is lifted from the greens,And cups are freshly cut, and birdies sing,Triumphantly the stifled golfer preensIn cleats and slacks once more, and checks his swing.This year, he vows, his head will steady be,His weight-shift smooth, his grip and stance ideal;And so they are, until upon the teeBefall the old contortions of the real.So, too, the tennis-player, torpid fromHibernal months of television sports,Perfects his serve and feels his knees becomeSheer muscle in their unaccustomed shorts.Right arm relaxed, the left controls the toss,Which shall be high, so that the racket faceShall at a certain angle sweep acrossThe floated sphere with gutty strings—an ace!The mind's eye sees it all until uponThe courts of life the faulty way we playedIn other summers rolls back with the sun.Hope springs eternally, but spring hopes fade." ~ John Updike
"....his silence he has indicated that he is willing. He hasn't the strength any more, the excess vitality, for an affair - its danger, its demand performances, the secrecy added like a filigree to your normal life, your gnawing preoccupation with it and with the constant threat of its being discovered and ended." ~ John Updike
"In fact we do not try to picture the afterlife, nor is it our selves in our nervous tics and optical flecks that we wish to perpetuate; it is the self as the window on the world that we can't bear to thinkof shutting. My mind when I was a boy of ten or eleven sent up its silent scream at the thought of future aeons -- at the thought of the cosmic party going on without me. The yearning for an afterlife is the opposite of selfish: it is love and praise of the world that we are privileged, in this complex interval of light, to witness and experience." ~ John Updike
"The faith in an afterlife, however much our reason ridicules it, very modestly extends our faith that each moment of our consciousness will be followed by another - that a coherent matrix has been prepared for this precious self of ours. The guarantee that our self enjoys an intended relation to the outer world is most, if not all, of what we ask from religion. God is the self projected onto reality by our natural and necessary optimism. He is the not-me personified." ~ John Updike
"For supper Jill cooks a filet of sole, lemony, light, simmered in sunshine, skin flaky brown; Nelson gets a hamburger with wheatgerm sprinkled on it to remind him of a Nutburger. Wheatgerm, zucchini, water chestnuts, celery salt, Familia: these are some of the exotic items Jill's shopping brings into the house. Her cooking tastes to him of things he never had: candlelight, saltwater, health fads, wealth, class." ~ John Updike
"Ever since, two summers ago, Joe Marino had begun to come into her bed, a preposterous fecundity had overtaken the staked plans, out in the side garden where the southwestern sun slanted in through the line of willows each long afternoon. The crooked little tomato branches, pulpy and pale as if made of cheap green paper, broke under the weight of so much fruit; there was something frantic in such fertility, a crying-out like that of children frantic to please. Of plants, tomatoes seemed the most human, eager and fragile and prone to rot. Picking the watery orange-red orbs, Alexandra felt she was cupping a giant lover's testicles in her hand." ~ John Updike
"And there was, in those Ipswich years, for me at least, a raw educational component; though I used to score well in academic tests, I seemed to know very little of how the world worked and was truly grateful for instruction, whether it was how to stroke a backhand, mix a martini, use a wallpaper steamer, or do the Twist. My wife, too, seemed willing to learn. Old as we must have looked to our children, we were still taking lessons, in how to be grown-up." ~ John Updike
"When I was in power, I found that experts can't be trusted. For this simple reason: unlike tyrants, they are under no delusion that a country, a people is their body. Under this delusion a tyrant takes everything personally. An expert takes nothing personally. Nothing is ever precisely his fault. If a bridge collapses, or a war miscarries, he has already walked away. He still has his expertise. Also,---people imagine that because a thing is big, it has had a great deal of intelligent thought given to it. This is not true. A big idea is even more apt to be wrong than a small one, because the scale is inorganic. The Great Wall, for instance, is extremely stupid. The two biggest phenomena in the world right now are Maoism and American television, and both are extremely stupid." ~ John Updike

Today's Quote

God loves us so much that he doesn't let us live forever so we can stop making mistakes"
Author: Carl Henegan

Famous Authors

Popular Topics