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In today's world, "history is more like a short-story collection than a novel," John Updike told a class of 4,300 graduating seniors.

In a commencement address Sunday at the University of Massachusetts, the 61-year-old author said his generation was probably the last that could easily believe "that America has a heart of gold."

"But international events in the four years since you entered this university make it easier, it seems to me, and newly exciting to be an American," said Updike, whose awards include the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for "Rabbit Is Rich."

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