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Reexamining John Updike's Years In Ipswich10:05
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Author John Updike speaks at BookExpo America 2006 at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, Saturday, May 20, 2006. Updike recently released his novel "Terrorist." (AP)
Author John Updike speaks at BookExpo America 2006 at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, Saturday, May 20, 2006. Updike recently released his novel "Terrorist." (AP)
This article is more than 6 years old.

John Updike was already an established writer for The New Yorker when he moved his family to Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1957.

He said he went there in search of the 'middleness' of America. But he also said he wanted to move close to his hero, ball player Ted Williams. He eventually settled in a house on the typically Protestant-named Labor-in-Vain Road.

It was an age of great upheaval in American society, and — according to biographer Adam Begley — the time of John Updike's sweetest triumphs.

In Ipswich — or Tarbox, in his writing — Updike's Protestant work ethic kicked his labors into overdrive: he wrote eight of his more than 70 books there, the majority of his best short stories and his most ambitious poetry.

Updike came to the North Shore a promising writer and left in 1974 as one of the country's greatest men of letters.

Guest

Adam Begley, author and critic, his new book is Updike. He tweets at @Adamcbegley.

Excerpt

This segment aired on May 7, 2014.

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