This collection of interviews with Thornton Wilder covers the full range of his sixty-year career as one of America’s leading men of letters.
In addition to American interviews, this book includes translations of interviews published originally in French and German that have never appeared in English previously. It includes a transcription of a rare radio interview conducted by Rex Stout and an extensive Paris Review conversation between Wilder and Richard H. Goldston, his first biographer. Throughout this book is a sense of Wilder’s boundless curiosity, his wit, his unflagging energy, his friendships with a range of celebrities such as Gertrude Stein, Hemingway, and Gene Tunney, and above all, the multitude of subjects on which he conversed easily and brilliantly.
Conversations with Thornton Wilder provides a close-up encounter with Wilder as novelist, playwright, actor, director, teacher, scholar, world traveler, musician, raconteur, and friend of the famous. The earliest interview included was given in 1928, when his most acclaimed and commercially successful novel, The Bridge at San Luis Rey, won him his first Pulitzer Prize. From the 1930s and 1940s come Wilder’s comments on his two celebrated plays, Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth, both Pulitzer winners. In the last three decades of his life, Wilder returned to the novel form (The Eighth Day won the National Book Award) while continuing to write plays and to give his opinions on theater-in-the-round, the hippie movement, movies and television, and Communism.
Jackson R. Bryer, (editor), a professor of English at the University of Maryland and cofounder and coeditor of Resources for American Literary Study, is the author or editor of more than twenty-five books.