John Hoyer Updike (March 18, 1932 – January 27, 2009) was an American novelist, poet, short-story writer, art critic, and literary critic. One of only three writers to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction more than once (the others were Booth Tarkington and William Faulkner), Updike published more than twenty novels, more than a dozen short-story collections, as well as poetry, art and literary criticism and children's books during his career.
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My grandmother would sometimes choke on her food, and have to go out on the side porch in Shillington, where one or another member of the family would follow and hammer on her back while she clung, gagging, to the porch rail. . . . I also would choke now and then. My album of sore moments includes a memory of crouching above my tray in the Lowell House dining hall at Harvard, miserably retching at something in my throat that would not go up or down, while half-swallowed milk dribbled from my mouth and the other students at the table silently took up their trays and moved away. On the edge of asphyxia, I sympathized with them and wished that I, too, could shun me.
Frederick William was deeply disappointed by his son, the future Frederick the Great, who in his youth seemed more interested in French culture, music, and literature than in the military virtues. The father's disaffection turned to actual hatred, and his treatment became so harsh that the young prince decided to run away, with the aid of two accomplices, Lieutenants Katte and Keith. The plan was discovered; Keith escaped, but the prince and Katte were captured and court-martialed. Katte was sentenced to life imprisonment, Frederick to solitary confinement. Frederick William, deciding that Katte's sentence was too lenient, had him beheaded in the presence of Prince Frederick. This drastic measure had the desired effect; Frederick asked the king's pardon and began to apply himself to acquiring the Prussian military philosophy.
The culture has moved to the point where I find myself in the far left without having gone there. I still feel like I'm putting up my father's old Indiana farmer's values. I think I'm a conservative. I don't think these guys that call themselves "conservatives" really are; these guys are high rollers and plungers and bet-the-farm-on-slender-odds guys; they ain't conservatives. I think a conservative is somebody who cares about conserving the planet and the air and the water and the sky and the sun. It is something mean to say that mankind has fucked up the sunshine.