John Updike and his novel ‘The Centaur’

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Literary Studies

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John Updike and his novel ‘The Centaur’

American novelist, poet, essayist and playwright, John Updike belongs to the post-war generation of writers the U.S. They came to literature with university degree and having philological training. The object of his image always was a life of intellectuals; he was well familiar with life and habits of the upper-middle-class. One of the most famous and significant novels of Updike is "Centaur." "Centaur" is a book where for the first time, in English literature - originated reception "semantic complexity."1 This novel has a two-dimensional structure: the common level and the mythological level. But mythological plots and characters are not just borrowed by writer, but he also creatively reworked them. John Updike appealed to mythology to emphasize the depth and scope of tasks solved by it. John Updike aggressively sought new ways of adapting of myth to the eternal problems of modernity. The main theme of "Centaur" is impoverishment and degeneration of public and private life. Updike talks about a crisis of ideas, values, moral concepts, spiritual aspirations. The author chose centaur from a rich artistic history of Greek mythology to express the idea of the duality of human nature, in which the spiritual beginning and physiological eternally confront each other. Mythological imagery is constantly present in the narrative and it is the cause of deep generalization.
"Centaur" - a novel-imagination, in which myth and reality intertwined. Almost every character has its prototype in the Greek myth. In myth, Chiron is wise and benevolent mentor for famous heroes Theseus and Jason. George Caldwell is Chiron. In the class he sees wild teens whose interests do not extend beyond basketball and mockery of teacher, who desperately tries to talk to them about the origin of life and the essence of man. Zimmerman, director of the school is Zeus.



Bibliography: 1. Updike, John. The Centaur. New York, NY: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 1996. 2. Женетт Ж. Повествовательный дискурс //Женетт Ж. Фигуры: Работы по поэтике. В 2 т. - Т.2. - М.: Издательство им. Сабашниковых, 1998. - С. 60-282. 3. Мифы народов мира. Энциклопедия в 2-х т. - М.: Рос. Энциклопедия, 1998.- Т.1. 4. Кравец А. Н. Структурные элементы мифопоэтики в романе Джона Апдайка «Кентавр» / А. Н. Кравец / / Вестник Харьковского национального университета им. В. Н. Каразина. Сер. : Филология. — 2004. — № 607. 5. Фадеева С. Миф и реальность в романе Джона Апдайка «Кентавр». С.: - 1930.

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