Late New Yorker writer called Updike the last of his kind

New Yorker writer Ved Mehta died on January 9, 2021 at the age of 86, a venerable writer who became an American citizen in 1975 and whose opus magnum was an 11-volume autobiography. He was a meticulous wordsmith (each New Yorker piece was read 16 times) who, according to a National Herald (India) obituary, would work on close to a hundred drafts of every chapter before sending it off to the publisher.

“Now people don’t know how to write letters,” he once complained. “I think hardly anyone writes formal prose these days. John Updike was the last writer I know who wrote formal prose. By formal prose I mean writing that is elegant, precise, clear. Now the writing has become quite a bit like schoolgirls writing to their mums—letters about what’s going on in their schools. It’s different,” the obituary quoted him as saying.

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