1932-, American Novelist, Critic
A healthy male adult bore consumes each year one and a half times his own weight in other people's patience.
John Updike – [Bores and Boredom]
A leader is one who, out of madness or goodness, volunteers to take upon himself the woe of the people. There are few men so foolish, hence the erratic quality of leadership in the world.
John Updike – [Leaders and Leadership]
America is a vast conspiracy to make you happy.
John Updike – [America]
Americans have been conditioned to respect newness, whatever it cost them.
John Updike – [Novelty]
Among the repulsions of atheism for me has been its drastic uninterestingness as an intellectual position. Where was the ingenuity, the ambiguity, the humanity (in the Harvard sense) of saying that the universe just happened to happen and that when we're dead we're dead?
John Updike – [Atheism]
An affair wants to spill, to share its glory with the world. No act is so private it does not seek applause.
John Updike – [Love]
Art imitates Nature in this; not to dare is to dwindle.
John Updike – [Arts and Artists]
Bankruptcy is a sacred state, a condition beyond conditions, as theologians might say, and attempts to investigate it are necessarily obscene, like spiritualism. One knows only that he has passed into it and lives beyond us, in a condition not ours.
John Updike – [Debt]
Being naked approaches being revolutionary; going barefoot is mere populism.
John Updike – [Nudity]
By the time a partnership dissolves, it has dissolved.
John Updike – [Partnership]
Celebrity is a mask that eats into the face. As soon as one is aware of being ''somebody,'' to be watched and listened to with extra interest, input ceases, and the performer goes blind and deaf in his over-animation. One can either see or be seen.
John Updike – [Fame]
Customs and convictions change; respectable people are the last to know, or to admit, the change, and the ones most offended by fresh reflections of the facts in the mirror of art.
John Updike – [Custom]
Dreams come true; without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.
John Updike – [Dreams]
Every marriage tends to consist of an aristocrat and a peasant. Of a teacher and a learner.
John Updike – [Marriage]
Existence itself does not feel horrible; it feels like an ecstasy, rather, which we have only to be still to experience.
John Updike – [Existence]
Facts are generally overesteemed. For most practical purposes, a thing is what men think it is. When they judged the earth flat, it was flat. As long as men thought slavery tolerable, tolerable it was. We live down here among shadows, shadows among shadows.
John Updike – [Facts]
For male and female alike, the bodies of the other sex are messages signaling what we must do — they are glowing signifiers of our own necessities.
John Updike – [Body]
Government is either organized benevolence or organized madness; its peculiar magnitude permits no shading.
John Updike – [Government]
I love my government not least for the extent to which it leaves me alone.
John Updike – [Government]
I think ''taste'' is a social concept and not an artistic one. I'm willing to show good taste, if I can, in somebody else's living room, but our reading life is too short for a writer to be in any way polite. Since his words enter into another's brain in silence and intimacy, he should be as honest and explicit as we are with ourselves.
John Updike – [Taste]