August 2009

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Those who attend the American Literature Association Symposium on American Fiction, 1890 to the Present, in Savannah, Georgia from October 8-10 will discover two sessions on Updike:

John Updike: Session 1

Chair, Robert M. Luscher, Univ. of Nebraska-Kearney

1) “Memento Mori: Death’s Shadow in Updike’s ‘uyre,'” Sylvie Mathé, University of Provence (Aix-Marseilles I) France

2) “John Updike’s Critics: Terrorist as a Test Case,” John McTavish, Trinity United Church, Ontario

3) “Nelson Redux: Updike’s Comic Point of View in ‘Rabbit Remembered,” Brian Keener, New York City College of Technology

John Updike: Session 2

Chair, Sylvie Mathé, University of Provence (Aix-Marseilles I)

1) “The David Kern Stories,” Peter Bailey, St. Lawrence University

2) “John Updike’s Early Stories: The Sequences/Cycles Within,” Robert M. Luscher, University of Nebraska-Kearney

3) “‘To Reveal the Shining Underbase’: John Updike’s Intimations of Eros in ‘Separating,'” Avis Hewitt, Grand Valley State University

Credit Rob Luscher for assembling what promise to be two fascinating panels. Those interested in attending the symposium can find information on the ALA site link on the left menu.

It’s not too early for members to begin thinking about the 21st Annual American Literature Association Conference on American Literature, which will be held in San Francisco—most likely at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco in Embarcadero Center, where ALA has met since 2004. In the past, panel topics have ranged from the general (“New Directions in Malamud,” “General Topics on Cooper”) to the specific (“Poe in the Middle East,” “Toni Morrison and Warfare”), with pedagogy sessions as well (“Teaching Hawthorne,” “New Approaches to Teaching Hemingway”). Sessions need to be proposed and approved, and author societies are requested to sponsor at least one session, but can also offer more.

Members with panel ideas should send them to a James Plath ( or another member of the board, and collectively the board of The John Updike Society will choose the panels which we feel are best to propose to ALA.

In addition to hosting several sessions, our society will hold a general membership meeting at ALA, which will be held May 27-30, 2010. All members are encouraged to attend, but of course attendance is not mandatory. Aside from all the literature sessions and speakers at the conference, attendees will be at a hotel near waterfront walking/jogging paths, right by the ferry that goes to Alcatraz and by a cable car stop that would allow you to take a tour of the city. You can also walk through Chinatown to Fisherman’s Wharf from this location.

This past May it was fun gathering at ALA, and I hope a number of our members will keep ALA in mind.