Famous Quotes By John Updike


  1. A healthy male adult bore consumes each year one and a half times his own weight in other people's patience.
  2. 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.
  3. Americans have been conditioned to respect newness, whatever it costs them.
  4. 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.
  5. Dreams come true without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.
  6. Each morning my characters greet me with misty faces willing, though chilled, to muster for another day's progress through the dazzling quicksand the marsh of blank paper.
  7. Every marriage tends to consist of an aristocrat and a peasant. Of a teacher and a learner.
  8. Existence itself does not feel horrible it feels like an ecstasy, rather, which we have only to be still to experience.
  9. Golf appeals to the idiot in us and the child. Just how childlike golf players become is proven by their frequent inability to count past five.
  10. Government is either organized benevolence or organized madness its peculiar magnitude permits no shading.
  11. I love my government not least for the extent to which it leaves me alone.
  12. Most of American life consists of driving somewhere and then returning home, wondering why the hell you went.
  13. Now that I am sixty, I see why the idea of elder wisdom has passed from currency.
  14. Religion enables us to ignore nothingness and get on with the jobs of life.
  15. That a marriage ends is less than ideal but all things end under heaven, and if temporality is held to be invalidating, then nothing real succeeds.
  16. The essential support and encouragement comes from within, arising out of the mad notion that your society needs to know what only you can tell it.
  17. The first breath of adultery is the freest after it, constraints aping marriage develop.
  18. The Founding Fathers in their wisdom decided that children were an unnatural strain on parents. So they provided jails called schools, equipped with tortures called an education.
  19. The inner spaces that a good story lets us enter are the old apartments of religion.
  20. Truth should not be forced it should simply manifest itself, like a woman who has in her privacy reflected and coolly decided to bestow herself upon a certain man.
  21. We are most alive when we're in love.
  22. What art offers is space - a certain breathing room for the spirit.
  23. Writers may be disreputable, incorrigible, early to decay or late to bloom but they dare to go it alone.
  24. Writing criticism is to writing fiction and poetry as hugging the shore is to sailing in the open sea.

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