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John Updike's «Rabbit at Rest»

Appropriating History


Dilvo I. Ristoff

John Updike's Rabbit at Rest: Appropriating History is a new historicist reading of Updike's last Rabbit novel. It follows the day-to-day chronology of events, in the novel and in the media, showing how history, with its variety and polyphonic immediacy, is appropriated by the characters, with what criteria, through which tropes, and to what ideological purpose. Although the emphasis of the text falls on Updike's appropriation of American history in the 1980's as it manifests itself in Rabbit at Rest, significant references are also made to the other Rabbit novels. These novels show how the history of the earlier decades is made into a motive for the characters' thoughts, feelings, and actions.