The Slump Essay

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In the following essay, Larsen discusses Updike's mastery of the short story form, focusing on his "lyrical meditation."

The often acerbic critical controversy over the stature of John Updike continues, unabated by the publication of Rabbit Redux. It is still too early to tell, of course, how durable will be the total work of a writer so surprisingly fertile and inventive. One thing seems indisputable even now, though: his mastery of the short story form. . . .

Even after the strikingly modish Rabbit Redux, the short story seems as significant a part of Updike's achievement as it was for Hemingway and Fitzgerald. Many of Updike's efforts bear the hallmarks of good short fiction inAmerica since Poe: discipline, structural soundness, a unity of theme or effect, a sense of wonder at life—all results of the "care and skill" which, Poe said, the form demands. Yet they do not follow the...

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This section contains 704 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Slump Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
The Slump from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.