John Updike

Marshall Boswell (Rhodes College)
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John Hoyer Updike was born on March 18, 1932 in Reading, PA, a mid-sized manufacturing town located in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country. His mother, Linda Grace (Hoyer) Updike, was a homemaker with artistic aspirations, while his father, Wesley Russell Updike, was a beleaguered, though beloved, high-school science teacher. An only child, Updike spent the first 13 years of his life in the small town of Shillington, PA, in a tight-knit household that also included his mother's parents, John and Katherine Hoyer. A trolley line ran right past his house, while Shillington High School, where his father worked, sat nestled just behind the backyard. The family did not even own a car. In his 1989 memoir,


, Updike writes, “The first mystery that confronts is ‘Why me?'…

2812 words

Citation: Boswell, Marshall. "John Updike". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 March 2004; last revised 15 February 2009. [, accessed 16 July 2024.]

4502 John Updike 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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