Wilder's Love Letter to Newport - A Book Launch Celebration on April 4th
The Wilder Family is thrilled to be partnering with The Newport Historical Society for a book launch to celebrate the reissue of Wilder’s novel Theophilus North (HarperCollins). The evening will feature theatrical readings, a panel conversation and reception at Newport’s famed Colony House on Washington Square on April 4 at 5:30pm. The event is free and open to the public but we recommend making a reservation HERE.
We hope you can join us!
The last of Thornton Wilder’s works published during his lifetime, Theophilus North is part autobiographical and part the imagined adventure of Wilder’s twin brother who died at birth. When he sets out to see the world in the summer of 1926, Theophilus North gets as far as Newport before his car breaks down. To support himself, Theophilus takes jobs in the elegant mansions along Ocean Drive, just as Wilder himself did in the same decade. Soon the young man finds himself playing the roles of tutor, tennis coach, spy, confidant, lover, friend and enemy as he becomes entangled in adventure and intrigue in Newport’s fabulous addresses, as well as in its local boarding houses, restaurants, dives and army barracks.
Wilder’s deep connection to Newport began when, at the age of 20, he was posted to Ft. Adams as a private in the Coast Artillery section of the National Army, 5th Company, Narragansett Bay Regiment in 1918. Like Theophilus North, Wilder spent the summer of 1922 tutoring in Newport and boarding at the YMCA. Wilder returned in 1926 and finished the last pages of what would be his first Pulitzer Prize-winning work, The Bridge of San Luis Rey. In later years, he visited whenever he could, his literary successes allowing him to stay in favorite hotels like The Viking and the Castle Hill Inn.
To learn more about The Newport Historical Society, please visit www.newporthistory.org.