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6 essential John Updike works

January 27, 2009
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EDITOR'S NOTE: We asked William Pritchard, Amerst College professor and author of "Updike: America's Man of Letters,'' to give us his pick of a half-dozen key works by John Updike. Here are his selections:

Collected Early Stories 1953-1975

103 stories, beginning with the Pennsylvania (Olinger) ones, up through those dealing with the marriage and divorce of a couple, the Maples.

The Centaur

Updike's third novel, about a high school boy and his father, a teacher at the school. Set in 1947 Pennsylvania but including timeless mythical elements. Updike called it his "happiest book."

Assorted Prose

The first of Updike's collections of miscellaneous writing. Contains "The Dogwood Tree: A Boyhood," and "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu," his tribute to Ted Williams's final game.

Collected Poems 1953-1993

Forty years worth, ranging from early light verse to more grave and ambitious poems.

Rabbit Angstrom: A Tetralogy

A single volume that gathers together the Rabbit novels, with a useful introduction by the author.

The Afterlife

A group of later stories, including most notably "The Sandstone Farmhouse" and "Journey to the Dead."

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