Author weighs Updike, Roth careers

Writing for Taki’s Magazine, Steve Sailer considered the literary output of John Updike and Philip Roth, who were born almost exactly one year apart and were equally prolific throughout their extended writing careers.

“Both published acclaimed works of fiction in their 20s: Roth’s Goodbye, Columbus, which satirized postwar Jewish affluence, and Updike’s Rabbit, Run, in which a former high school jock with a two-digit IQ (but, for unexplained reasons, the supreme perceptive consciousness of John Updike) repeatedly makes bad decisions that bring trouble for everybody around him. Yet, Rabbit keeps turning out okay because, hey, America is more of a comedy than a tragedy,” Sailer writes.

“In the early 1970s, Roth published some lousy books, such as his strident Richard Nixon parody Our Gang, while Updike pulled ahead in repute.”

Sailer decides that the two writers were close to equal early in their careers, with Updike the superior writer in mid-career and Roth the better late-career writer. And he has the charts to illustrate those assertions. Here’s the link.

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