Thornton Niven Wilder (April 17, 1897 – December 7, 1975) was an American playwright and novelist. He won three Pulitzer Prizes—for the novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey and for the two plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth—and a U.S. National Book Award for the novel The Eighth Day.

Wilder was born in Madison, Wisconsin, the son of Amos Parker Wilder, a US newspaper editor and diplomat, and Isabella Niven Wilder. All of the Wilder children spent part of their childhood in China because of their father's work.

Thornton Wilder's older brother, Amos Niven Wilder, was Hollis Professor of Divinity at the Harvard Divinity School, a noted poet, and foundational to the development of the field theopoetics. Amos was also a nationally ranked tennis player who competed at the Wimbledon tennis championships in 1922. His sister Isabel Wilder was an accomplished writer. Both of his other sisters, Charlotte Wilder, a poet, and Janet Wilder Dakin, a zoologist, attended Mount Holyoke College. Additionally, Wilder had a twin brother who died at birth.


Thornton Wilder Poems

Thornton Wilder Quotes

I've never forgotten for long at a time that living is struggle. 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—whether it's a field, or a home, or a country.
Thornton Wilder (1897-1975), U.S. novelist, dramatist. Antrobus, in The Skin of Our Teeth, act 3.
How do you know what the world is like? Do you know the world is a foul sty? Do you know if you rip the fronts off houses you'd find swine? The world is a hell. What does it matter what happens in it?
Thornton Wilder (1897-1975), U.S. playwright, screenwriter, Sally Benson (1900-1972), Alma Reville (1900-1982), British screenwriter, and Alfred Hitchcock. Charles Oakley (Joseph Cotten), Shadow of a Doubt (1942). To his niece Charlie (Teresa Wright).
One of the dangers of the American artist is that he finds himself almost exclusively thrown in with persons more or less in the arts. He lives among them, eats among them, quarrels with them, marries them.
Thornton Wilder (1897-1975), U.S. novelist, dramatist. Interview, Writers at Work, First Series, ed. Malcolm Cowley (1958).

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