The Art of Thornton Wilder

The Art of Thornton Wilder

The Art of Thornton Wilder

The Art of Thornton Wilder

Excerpt

THIS BRIEF STUDY of the literary career of Thornton Wilder is an attempt to reach three goals. Lest the reader expect it to be what it is not, I wish to describe the goals at the outset.

First, I hope that the book is a readable and useful guide to Wilder's plays and novels. To this end, I have taken up each in its chronological position, have commented on the specific literary sources of each, and have investigated the ideas underlying Wilder's writing in its entirety. If I have succeeded, the reader will recognize the continuity of the author's thought from his publications of half a century ago to the present. Like most writers, Wilder employs a single theme repeatedly, but, as I have tried to demonstrate, he is superior to most in the invention of fresh modes of expression, each appropriate to the theme, and each capable of creating and sustaining the emotional force necessary for its acceptance.

Second, I hope I have communicated my own pleasure in Wilder's writing. I will not deny my reservations about the early novels, many of the short dramatic sketches, and one of the Broadway plays, but behind all my remarks is . . .

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