Freudian Fraternity of the Thirties
The one playwright in American drama who appears to have found a means of straddling the two worlds of Joycean unconscious writing and the conscious orientation of the commercial theatre is Thornton Wilder. Sharing with Saroyan a dislike for the mere depiction of surface reality and a desire to enlarge the scope of the theatre, Wilder brings to his free fantasy, however, a mature mind and a craftsman's awareness of effect. Where Saroyan repeats himself, Wilder is eclectic and refuses to be categorized; where Saroyan is bound by a limited perspective, Wilder is cosmic in his point of view and draws effortlessly upon European literature, archaeology and psychology; where Saroyan's common people are drawn from eccentric walks of life and prove to be trivial, foolish and incompetent, Wilder's common people are extracted from the very heart of American family life and strike a universality which eludes Saroyan.
Three times Pulitzer prize winner (for the novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey, and his two plays, Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth), Wilder has also done a number of adaptations from foreign drama* and early in his career wrote the one-act plays, A Happy Journey____________________