The New Yorker & Me, a blog by a man who calls himself Capedrifter, yesterday posted an entry titled “John Updike’s Secular Vision (Contra Christian Lorentzen),” in which he challenges Lorentz’s characterization of Updike’s art criticism.
“John Updike’s art essays are among the glories of modern literature,” he writes, noting that “Updike’s moments of art religiosity seem to have been most intense when he visited MoMA.”
But he adds, “To say, as Lorentzen says, that Updike ‘never tired of writing about painting and sculpture in religious terms’ is a shade misleading. Only in ‘What MoMA Done Tole Me’ and ‘Invisible Cathedral’ did he do so expressly. Perhaps he sublimated his religious feeling towards art in his other pieces. That may account, in part, for their greatness. But Updike’s sensual apprehension of life (‘Flesh is delicious,’ he says, eyeing Lucas Cranach’s Eve) is also a key ingredient of his criticism—one that’s totally secular.”