Thornton Wilder (April 17, 1897 - December 07, 1975)
Born: 17th April, 1897
Died: 7th December, 1975
Nationality: American
Profession/Occupation: Novelist
Region: Madison, Wisconsin, Hamden, Connecticut
Notable works: "The Woman of Andros", "Our Town", "The Skin of Our Teeth", "The Matchmaker", "The Bridge of San Luis Rey", "Theophilus North", "The Cabala"

Thornton Wilder Facts

Biography

Thornton Wilder, in full Thornton Niven Wilder, (born April 17, 1897, Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.--died December 7, 1975, Hamden, Connecticut), American writer whose innovative novels and plays reflect his views of the universal truths in human nature. He is probably best known for his plays.

After graduating from Yale University in 1920, Wilder studied archaeology in Rome. From 1930 to 1937 he taught dramatic literature and the classics at the University of Chicago.

His first novel, The Cabala (1926), set in 20th-century Rome, is essentially a fantasy about the death of the pagan gods. His most popular novel, The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1927; Pulitzer Prize), which was adapted for film and television, examines the lives of five people who died in the collapse of a bridge in 18th-century Peru. The Woman of Andros (1930) is an interpretation of Terence's Andria. Accused of being a "Greek" rather than an American writer, Wilder in Heaven's My Destination (1934) wrote about a quixotically good hero in a contemporary setting. His later novels are The Ides of March (1948), The Eighth Day (1967), and Theophilus North (1973).

Wilder's plays engage the audience in make-believe by having the actors address the spectators directly and by discarding props and scenery. The Stage Manager in Our Town (1938) talks to the audience, as do the characters in the farcical The Matchmaker (1954). Wilder won a Pulitzer Prize for Our Town, becoming the only person to receive the award in both the fiction and drama categories. The Matchmaker was made into a film in 1958 and adapted in 1964 into the immensely successful musical Hello, Dolly!, which was also made into a film.

Wilder's other plays include The Skin of Our Teeth (1942; Pulitzer Prize), which employs deliberate anachronisms and the use of the same characters in various geological and historical periods to show that human experience is much the same whatever the time or place. Posthumous publications include The Journals of Thornton Wilder, 1939-1961, edited by Donald Gallup, and Wilder's correspondence with Gertrude Stein, The Letters of Gertrude Stein and Thornton Wilder (1996), edited by Edward Burns and Ulla E. Dydo.

Top 38 Thornton Wilder quotes

The best thing about animals is that they don't talk much.
About
Animals
Best
Much
Talk
Thing
I know that every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor-edge of danger and must be fought for.
Danger
Every
Excellent
Fought
Good
Know
Moment
Must
Stands
Thing
World
Literature is the orchestration of platitudes.
Literature
Platitudes
My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it's on your plate.
Advice
Cream
Enjoy
Ice
Ice cream
Inquire
Just
Plate
While
Why
You
Your
Marriage is a bribe to make the housekeeper think she's a householder.
Bribe
Make
Marriage
She
Think
For what human ill does not dawn seem to be an alleviation?
Dawn
Does
Human
Ill
Seem
Love is an energy which exists of itself. It is its own value.
Energy
Exists
Itself
Love
Love is
Own
Value
Which
Many who have spent a lifetime in it can tell us less of love than the child that lost a dog yesterday.
Child
Dog
Less
Lifetime
Lost
Love
Many
Spent
Tell
Than
Us
Who
Yesterday
Hope, like faith, is nothing if it is not courageous; it is nothing if it is not ridiculous.
Courageous
Faith
Hope
Like
Nothing
Ridiculous
Man is not an end but a beginning. We are at the beginning of the second week. We are children of the eighth day.
Beginning
Children
Day
Eighth
End
Man
Second
Week
Those who are silent, self-effacing and attentive become the recipients of confidences.
Attentive
Become
Recipients
Silent
Those
Who
We do not choose the day of our birth nor may we choose the day of our death, yet choice is the sovereign faculty of the mind.
Birth
Choice
Choose
Day
Death
Faculty
May
Mind
Nor
Our
Sovereign
I would love to be the poet laureate of Coney Island.
Island
Laureate
Love
Poet
Poet laureate
Would
Many plays - certainly mine - are like blank checks. The actors and directors put their own signatures on them.
Actor
Blank
Certainly
Checks
Directors
Like
Many
Mine
Own
Plays
Put
Them
A dramatist is one who believes that the pure event, an action involving human beings, is more arresting than any comment that can be made upon it.
Action
Any
Beings
Believes
Comment
Event
Human
Human beings
Involving
Made
More
Pure
Than
Who
When God loves a creature he wants the creature to know the highest happiness and the deepest misery He wants him to know all that being alive can bring. That is his best gift. There is no happiness save in understanding the whole.
Alive
Being
Best
Bring
Creature
Deepest
Gift
God
Happiness
He
Highest
Him
His
Know
I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.
Another
Art
Art forms
Being
Forms
Greatest
Human
Human being
Immediate
Most
Regard
Sense
Share
Theatre
If I wasn't an actor, I'd be a secret agent.
Actor
Agent
Secret
Secret agent
It is very necessary to have markers of beauty left in a world seemingly bent on making the most evil ugliness.
Beauty
Bent
Evil
Left
Making
Most
Necessary
Seemingly
Ugliness
Very
World
Seek the lofty by reading, hearing and seeing great work at some moment every day.
Day
Every
Every day
Great
Great work
Hearing
Lofty
Moment
Reading
Seeing
Seek
Some
Work
An incinerator is a writer's best friend.
Best
Best friend
Friend
Writer
Nature reserves the right to inflict upon her children the most terrifying jests.
Children
Her
Inflict
Most
Nature
Reserves
Right
Terrifying
It is only in appearance that time is a river. It is rather a vast landscape and it is the eye of the beholder that moves.
Appearance
Beholder
Eye
Eye of the beholder
Landscape
Moves
Only
Rather
River
Time
Vast
In advertising, not to be different is virtual suicide.
Advertising
Be different
Different
Suicide
Virtual
There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.
Bridge
Dead
Land
Living
Love
Meaning
Only
Survival
Pride, avarice, and envy are in every home.
Avarice
Envy
Every
Home
Pride
A play visibly represents pure existing.
Existing
Play
Pure
Represents
Every good thing in the world stands on the razor-edge of danger.
Danger
Every
Good
Good thing
Stands
Thing
World
We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.
Alive
Conscious
Hearts
Moments
Only
Our
Said
Those
Treasures
The more decisions that you are forced to make alone, the more you are aware of your freedom to choose.
Alone
Aware
Choose
Decisions
Forced
Freedom
Make
More
You
Your
Your freedom
Ninety-nine percent of the people in the world are fools and the rest of us are in great danger of contagion.
Contagion
Danger
Fools
Great
Ninety-nine
Ninety-nine percent
People
Percent
Rest
Us
World
There's nothing like eavesdropping to show you that the world outside your head is different from the world inside your head.
Different
Eavesdropping
Head
Inside
Like
Nothing
Outside
Show
World
You
Your
When you're safe at home you wish you were having an adventure; when you're having an adventure you wish you were safe at home.
Adventure
Having
Home
Safe
Were
Wish
You
Providence has nothing good or high in store for one who does not resolutely aim at something high or good. A purpose is the eternal condition of success.
Aim
Condition
Does
Eternal
Good
High
Nothing
Providence
Purpose
Resolutely
Something
Store
Success
Who
I am convinced that, except in a few extraordinary cases, one form or another of an unhappy childhood is essential to the formation of exceptional gifts.
Am
Another
Cases
Childhood
Convinced
Essential
Except
Exceptional
Extraordinary
Few
Form
Formation
Gifts
I am
But there comes a moment in everybody's life when he must decide whether he'll live among the human beings or not - a fool among fools or a fool alone.
Alone
Among
Beings
Decide
Everybody
Fool
Fools
He
Human
Human beings
Life
Live
Moment
Must
The theatre is supremely fitted to say: 'Behold! These things are.' Yet most dramatists employ it to say: 'This moral truth can be learned from beholding this action.'
Action
Behold
Employ
Fitted
Learned
Moral
Most
Say
Supremely
Theatre
Things
Truth
The future author is one who discovers that language, the exploration and manipulation of the resources of language, will serve him in winning through to his way.
Author
Discovers
Exploration
Future
Him
His
His way
Language
Manipulation
Resources
Serve
Through
Way
Who

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