Augustana professor writes literary criticism about Updike’s Kierkegaard

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Rock Island, Ill.– Dr. David Crowe, professor of English at Augustana College, recently completed a book examining John Updike’s many claims about Søren Kierkegaard’s life and work. In Cosmic Defiance: Updike’s Kierkegaard and the Maples Stories, Dr. Crowe provides readers with the story of John Updike’s first reading of Kierkegaard just after graduating from Harvard, and his resulting life-long fascination with the existentialist theologian.

John Updike once wrote that many of his works are “illustrations of Kierkegaard,” and yet no current study provides an extended convincing reason why this is so, why Updike came to live by Kierkegaard’s ideas. Dr. Crowe’s study does, telling the story of Updike’s life-altering encounter with Fear and Trembling in his early career, and tracing the subsequent evolution of Updike’s complex and coherent theology.

“I wrote the book so that even people who haven’t read Kierkegaard can get up to speed on his central claims. Unlike most literary critics, I also avoid jargon and believe that if you can’t state a theory plainly and clearly you’re probably hiding something,” said Dr. Crowe.

The biographical critical study is the first book-length exploration of John Updike’s passion for Kierkegaard’s ideas. The book was published by Mercer University Press and is available now.

About Augustana:

Founded in 1860, Augustana College is a selective four-year residential college of the liberal arts and sciences. Augustana is recognized for the innovative program Augie Choice, which provides each student up to $2,000 to pursue a high-impact learning experience such as study abroad, an internship or research with a professor. Current students and alumni include 155 Academic All-Americans, a Nobel laureate, 13 college presidents and other distinguished leaders. The college enrolls 2,500 students and is located along one of the world’s most important waterways, the Mississippi River, in a community that reflects the diversity of the United States.