01 March 2007

Updike on the new authorship

In my first 15 or 20 years of authorship, I was almost never asked to give a speech or an interview. The written work was supposed to speak for itself, and to sell itself, sometimes even without the author's photograph on the back flap. As the author is gradually retired from his old responsibilities of confrontation and provocation, he has grown in importance as a kind of walking, talking, advertisement for the book — a much more pleasant and flattering duty, it may be, than composing the book in solitude. Authors, if I understand present trends, will soon be like surrogate birth mothers, rented wombs in which a seed implanted by high-powered consultants is allowed to ripen and, after nine months, be dropped squalling into the marketplace.
— John Updike, "The End of Authorship," New York Times, June 25, 2006.


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