John Updike’s In Love With a Wanton

John Updike passed away in 2009, but not before earning two Pulitzer Prizes. A long-time golfer, Updike played his golf at the Myopia Hunt Club near Boston and had a true love the game.

The last golf book he published before his death was In Love with a Wanton. It was produced by the specialty publisher the Thornwillow Press in 2005. Only 250 copies were produced in a signed, limited edition that was done in half leather brown morocco & paste paper. The book was custom crafted by hand and comes with the black cloth solander box, as issued.


The book is a collection of Updike’s later works and represent some of his best. The title of the book comes from an essay originally published in the New Yorker and asks a question many of us do time to time: Why do we play the game? Referring to golf in the feminine, he laments, “Sometimes I wish she and I had never met. She’s an intuitive old girl; she sniffs you out. Those extra ten yards you think you can squeeze out of your swing –she’s onto you while the club is still approaching horizontal. She like guys who keeps things simple and don’t mind repeating themselves. And that, it breaks my heart to have at last perceived, lets me out. So why do I still lover her? Why do I continue to pour hours and treasure into a futile and unreciprocated courtship? Well, she’s awfully pretty. And all those green curves, and dewy swales, and snug little sand traps; and the way she grassily stretches here and there and then some. She makes you think big, and lifts your head up to face the sky. When you connect, it’s the whistle of a quail, it’s the soar of a hawk, it’s the sighting of a planet hitherto unseen; it’s mathematical perfection wrested from a half-buried lie; it’s absolute.”

Updike’s only other contribution to the golfer’s library was his 1996 Golf Dreams, so any additional works done by him on the game are a welcome addition. The essays contained within In Love with a Wanton are: Playing with Better Players, In Love With a Wanton, Walking Insomnia and On Being a Senior Golfer. The book is enhanced by the lovely hand-drawn illustrations done by Tania Lee.



— John Sabino

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About valuablebook

Valuable Book Group specializes in rare, collectible and valuable golf books. We are avid collectors ourselves obsessed not only with playing the game, but also its history and the literature of the game.
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