John Updike and religion : the sense of the sacred and the motions of grace /
edited by James Yerkes.
Grand Rapids, Mich. : W.B. Eerdmans, c1999.
xiii, 290 p. ; 24 cm.
0802838731 (alk. paper)
More Details
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Grand Rapids, Mich. : W.B. Eerdmans, c1999.
0802838731 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. 267-278) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2000-05-01:
Though John Updike's writings have attracted much scholarly and critical attention over the years, a topic little treated in literary studies has been the role of religion in his works. Yerkes (religion and philosophy, Moravian College) has edited a well-conceived collection of essays to address this weakness in Updike scholarship. After an introduction and an initial essay by Updike himself, the remaining 15 essays explore three separate areas of religion. The first five essays examine the religious dimensions of Updike's fiction, with an eye to the universal religious elements in human culture. They seek the general "sense of the sacred" that is an important part of many of his books. The second five essays examine Updike's relation to Christianity, his own religious roots, and the interconnections between his work and the categories of Christian theology. The final five look at the relation between Updike and particular forms of religion in the American context, especially how his religious vision plays out in the religious world of the US. A wonderful, unified collection of essays on an infrequently discussed topic. Recommended for upper-division undergraduates and above, and general readers and practitioners interested in Updike and/or religious studies. M. A. Granquist; St. Olaf College
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1999-09-13:
Yerkes, professor of religion and philosophy at Moravian College, edits this eminently readable collection of essays exploring the religious dimensions of Updike's work and vision. Authored by an interdisciplinary group, the collection benefits by avoiding both excessively technical and tendentiously "churchy" language. As insightful as it is with respect to Updike's writing, it also effectively uses Updike as a lens, creatively bringing into focus American democracy, civil religion and the Protestant tradition with which Updike converses. The 15 essays fall under three sections: "Updike and the Religious Dimension," "Updike and the Christian Religion" and "Updike and American Religion." The book is noteworthy not only for its interdisciplinary approach but, as Yerkes himself points out, for the time it spends on writings regarded by establishment critics to be among Updike's worst. The anthology opens with a poem and an essay by Updike himself and closes with a useful bibliography, including Internet sources on Updike's work. For readers who have never explored Updike, these essays serve as a provocative invitation to do so. Readers who have already engaged Updike in depth will find in these pages a rich and critical conversation, revealing Updike's intricate vision of religion and human experience. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, September 1999
Choice, May 2000
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Table of Contents
Prefacep. xi
Earthwormp. 2
Remarks upon Receiving the Campion Medalp. 3
Updike and the Religious Dimension
As Good as It Gets: The Religious Consciousness in John Updike's Literary Visionp. 9
The Obligation to Live: Duty and Desire in John Updike's Self-Consciousnessp. 31
The Pocket Nothing Else Will Fill: Updike's Domestic Godp. 50
When Earth Speaks of Heaven: The Future of Race and Faith in Updike's Brazilp. 64
Updike 2020: Fantasy, Mythology, and Faith in Toward the End of Timep. 80
Updike and the Christian Religion
An Umbrella Blowing Inside Out: Paradoxical Theology and American Culture in the Novels of John Updikep. 101
What Is Goodness? The Influence of Updike's Lutheran Rootsp. 119
Writing as a Reader of Karl Barth: What Kind of Religious Writer Is John Updike Not?p. 145
The World and the Void: Creatio ex Nihilo and Homoeroticism in Updike's Rabbit Is Richp. 162
Learning to Die: Work as Religious Discipline in Updike's Fictionp. 180
Updike and American Religion
Faith or Fiction: Updike and the American Renaissancep. 195
Giving the Devil His Due: Leeching and Edification of Spirit in The Scarlet Letter and The Witches of Eastwickp. 208
Guru Industries, Ltd.: Red-Letter Religion in Updike's S.p. 228
Chaos and Society: Religion and the Idea of Civil Order in Updike's Memories of the Ford Administrationp. 242
The World as Host: John Updike and the Cultural Affirmation of Faithp. 257
Bibliography of Citation Sources and Updike Criticismp. 267
Contributorsp. 279
Indexp. 283
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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