Monday, October 27, 2008

Updike on the early sixties

In an interesting interview with Peter Conrad in the Guardian at the weekend, John Updike makes the following observation:

Politics was really far from central to people's lives in the early Sixties; it was all about the discovery of the private life.

It's funny how our collective memory or image of the sixties has changed over the years, so that now we think of it as a decade of protest and poltiical activism. It was, later on, for sure, but is Updike right about the pre-1963 era? Was it really about the discovery of the private life?

It's an interesting point because my thinking about the current American scene and American literature is that it is all about the private and that the public is only ever seen through the prism of self-interest. I've always thought this was the antithesis of the sixties experience. Updike is suggesting it owes its roots to that period.

No comments: