Widely considered "America's Man of Letters," John Updike is a prolific novelist and critic with an unprecedented range of work across more than 50 years. No author has ever written from the variety of vantages or spanned topics like Updike did. Despite being widely recognized as one of the nation's literary greats, scholars have largely ignored Updike's vast catalog of work outside the Rabbit tetralogy.

John Updike: A Critical Biography provides the first detailed examination of Updike's body of criticism, poetry, and journalism, and shows how that work played a central role in transforming his novels. The book disputes the common misperception of Updike as merely a chronicler of suburban, middle-class America by focusing on his novels and stories that explore the wider world, from the groundbreaking The Coup (1978) to Terrorist (2006). Cultural historian and biographer Bob Batchelor asks readers to reassess Updike's career by tracing his transformation over half a century of writing.

John Updike had a brilliantly sustained career as the most honored American writer of his generation. We have long needed a comprehensive discussion of Updike’s accomplishment that situates it in the changing cultural contexts of his time. Bob Batchelor shrewdly contextualizes Updike with a wide-ranging, keen understanding of both Updike’s complex canon and his skill at balancing art and celebrity.
— Donald J. Greiner, Carolina Distinguished Professor of English, Vice Provost, and Dean Emeritus, University of South Carolina
Batchelor serves as Director of Marketing & Media for The John Updike Childhood Home Museum in Reading, PA.

Batchelor serves as Director of Marketing & Media for The John Updike Childhood Home Museum in Reading, PA.