John Updike at Penn, April 2000

John Updike was the great contemporary chronicler of the American middle class. The master of four genres — novel, short story, poetry, and essay — he deploys in each his exquisitely lyrical style and remarkable intellectual engagement with America's moral and spiritual problems to probe the inner lives of families and the mundane concerns of husband, wife, children, home, and job. The author of numerous best-selling books, his popular reputation rests primarily on his works as a novelist. In his celebrated tetralogy about Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, he created one of the immortal characters of American literature. In his Gertrude and Claudius, an imagined prequel to Shakespeare's Hamlet, Updike takes everything he learned about modern familial dysfunction and masterfully applies it to Elsinore Castle. "The book," says Richard Eder of The New York Times, "illuminates questions about Shakespeare, about what a classic means and also the unexplored hills and forests that lie on either side of the path art pushes through them." Updike's last book was The Widows of Eastwick, a sequel to his novel The Witches of Eastwick.

Watch a recording of novelist Lorene Cary's April 13 interview with the Updike at the Kelly Writers House.

April 4, 2000 at the Writers House: "U & S: Updike Reads Shakespeare"

A talk and lively discussion led by Dan Traister comparing and contrasting John Updike's version of Shakespeare's Hamlet, as found in Updike's new work, Gertrude and Claudius.

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April 13, 2000 at the Writers House: Interview with Lorene Cary

Novelist Lorene Cary interviews Updike in a live webcast (RealMedia).

April 13, 2000 at Logan Hall: Gertrude and Claudius

4:30 PM, Logan Hall, Room 17: Updike gives a public presentation from his new work, Gertrude and Claudius. Presented by the School of Arts and Sciences Dean's Forum.