Wilder, Thornton

Wilder, Thornton

▪ American writer
in full  Thornton Niven Wilder 
born April 17, 1897, Madison, Wis., U.S.
died Dec. 7, 1975, Hamden, Conn.

      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.

Additional Reading
Biographical and critical studies include Gilbert A. Harrison, The Enthusiast: A Life of Thornton Wilder (1983); Rex Burbank, Thornton Wilder, 2nd ed. (1978); David Castronovo, Thornton Wilder (1986); Claudette Walsh, Thornton Wilder: A Reference Guide 1926–1990 (1993); Paul Lifton, Vast Encyclopedia: The Theatre of Thornton Wilder (1995); Martin Blank (ed.), Critical Essays on Thornton Wilder (1996); Katie De Koster (ed.), Readings on Thornton Wilder (1998); Martin Blank, Dalma Hunyadi Brunauer, and David Garrett Izzo (eds.), Thornton Wilder: New Essays (1999); and Harold Bloom (ed.), Thornton Wilder (2002).

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Wilder, Thornton (Niven) — Wilder, Thornton (Niven). 1897 1975. American writer whose works include novels, such as The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1927), and the theatrically innovative drama Our Town (1938). * * * born April 17, 1897, Madison, Wis., U.S. died Dec. 7, 1975,… …   Universalium

  • Wilder, Thornton Niven — (1897 1975)    Thornton Wilder was educated at Oberlin College and Yale University and was awarded an M.A. in French literature from Princeton in 1926. Wilder served in the Coast Guard during World War I. He taught French and English at… …   Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era

  • Wilder, Thornton — ► (1897 1975) Novelista dramático estadounidense. Autor de El puente de san Luis rey, entre otras …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Wilder, Thornton —    см. Уайлдер, Торнтон …   Писатели США. Краткие творческие биографии

  • Wilder, Thornton (Niven) — (17 abr. 1897, Madison, Wis., EE.UU.–7 dic. 1975, Hamden, Conn.). Dramaturgo y novelista estadounidense. Estudió arqueología en la Universidad de Yale, y posteriormente en Roma. Fue muy elogiado por su segunda novela, El puente de San Luis Rey… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Thornton Wilder — als Mr. Antrobus in The Skin of Our Teeth . Thornton Niven Wilder (* 17. April 1897 in Madison, Wisconsin; † 7. Dezember 1975 in Hamden, Connecticut) war ein US amerikanischer Schriftsteller …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Thornton Wilder — Thornton Wilder. Thornton Wilder (1897 1975), dramaturgo y novelista estadounidense contemporáneo. Contenido 1 Biografía …   Wikipedia Español

  • Wilder — Wilder, Billy Wilder, Thornton * * * (as used in expressions) Wilder, Billy Samuel Wilder Wilder, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Thornton (Niven) …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • WILDER (T.) — WILDER THORNTON (1897 1975) Né à Madison (Wisconsin), Thornton Wilder a poursuivi avec constance sa triple activité d’enseignant, de romancier et de dramaturge, jouissant d’une notoriété de bon aloi, depuis le grand succès de son deuxième roman,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Thornton Wilder — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Wilder. Thornton Wilder dans The Skin of Our Teeth, photographié par Carl Van Vechten, 18 août  …   Wikipédia en Français

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