Just Looking: Essays on Art

Front Cover
MFA, 2001 - Art - 210 pages
6 Reviews
These 23 essays on traditional and modern art show John Updike at his most eclectic, entertaining, and enlightening. Originally published in 1989 and until now unavailable in any edition, Just Looking had become one of Updike's rarest and most sought-after titles. It collects the best of the novelist and critic's multifarious musings on art and artists, museums and popular culture, the lives behind the works and the ways in which these works have informed his own life. Included here are pieces on Vermeer, Erastus Field, Modigliani, the major Impressionists, New Yorker cartoonist Ralph Barton, children's book illustrations, Fairfield Porter, and Jean Ipousteguy, among others, as well as extensive reflections on John Singer Sargent and Andrew Wyeth, a critical examination of writers' art, and a long essay on his impressions of the Museum of Modern Art. Featuring a new introduction by the author, this edition of Just Looking -- the first ever in paperback -- brings back into print a key work of art criticism by one of the most respected and accomplished writers of our time and is the first in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston's new reprint series.

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Review: Just Looking: Essays on Art

User Review  - Tracy - Goodreads

this treasure should be read over and over again... Read full review

Review: Just Looking: Essays on Art

User Review  - Goodreads

this treasure should be read over and over again... Read full review

Contents

A City Frieze
21
American Children
43
Fields Luminous Folk
67
Copyright

7 other sections not shown

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About the author (2001)

American novelist, poet, and critic John Updike was born in Reading, Pennsylvania on March 18, 1932. He received an A.B. degree from Harvard University, which he attended on a scholarship, in 1954. After graduation, he accepted a one-year fellowship to study painting at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in Oxford, England. After returning from England in 1955, he worked for two years on the staff of The New Yorker. This marked the beginning of a long relationship with the magazine, during which he has contributed numerous short stories, poems, and book reviews. Although Updike's first published book was a collection of verse, The Carpentered Hen and Other Tame Creatures (1958), his renown as a writer is based on his fiction, beginning with The Poorhouse Fair (1959). During his lifetime, he wrote more than 50 books and primarily focused on middle-class America and their major concerns---marriage, divorce, religion, materialism, and sex. Among his best-known works are the Rabbit tetrology---Rabbit, Run (1960), Rabbit Redux (1971), Rabbit Is Rich (1981), and Rabbit at Rest (1988). Rabbit, Run introduces Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom as a 26-year-old salesman of dime-store gadgets trapped in an unhappy marriage in a dismal Pennsylvania town, looking back wistfully on his days as a high school basketball star. Rabbit Redux takes up the story 10 years later, and Rabbit's relationship with representative figures of the 1960s enables Updike to provide social commentary in a story marked by mellow wisdom and compassion in spite of some shocking jolts. In Rabbit Is Rich, Harry is comfortably middle-aged and complacent, and much of the book seems to satirize the country-club set and the swinging sexual/social life of Rabbit and his friends. Finally, in Rabbit at Rest, Harry arrives at the age where he must confront his mortality. Updike won the Pulitzer Prize for both Rabbit Is Rich and Rabbit at Rest. Updike's other novels range widely in subject and locale, from The Poorhouse Fair, about a home for the aged that seems to be a microcosm for society as a whole, through The Court (1978), about a revolution in Africa, to The Witches of Eastwick (1984), in which Updike tries to write from inside the sensibilities of three witches in contemporary New England. The Centaur (1963) is a subtle, complicated allegorical novel that won Updike the National Book Award in 1964. In addition to his novels, Updike also has written short stories, poems, critical essays, and reviews. Self-Consciousness (1989) is a memoir of his early life, his thoughts on issues such as the Vietnam War, and his attitude toward religion. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1977. He died of lung cancer on January 27, 2009 at the age of 76.

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