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Number of Pages: 864
Publication Date: 2013
|Dimensions: 8.00 X 5.31 X 1.38 (inches)|
Thornton Wilder: A Life, the first biography of the playwright and novelist since 1983, is based on unprecedented research: thousands of pages of letters, journals, manuscripts, and other documentary evidence of Wilder's life, work, and times. Biographer Penelope Niven mined Wilder's personal archives for more than a decade, and has produced a book that illuminates his professional life anew and reveals an enigmatic, intensely private man who wandered the world, writing, he said, for and about everybody. Even today, he has a global audience. His novels, including The Bridge of San Luis Rey, remain in print all over the world. His plays, especially the iconic Our Town and the revolutionary Skin of Our Teeth, are touchstones of modern theater.
Richly detailed, Thornton Wilder: A Life brings one of our country's most beloved playwrights to center stage and unseals his hidden inner self, apparent only here and there in his art and in his papers.
Penelope Niven is the author of critically acclaimed biographies of poet Carl Sandburg and photographer Edward Steichen, as well as Swimming Lessons, a memoir, and Voices and Silences, coauthored with the actor James Earl Jones. She is the recipient of three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Thornton Wilder Visiting Fellowship at the Beinecke Library at Yale, and other fellowships and awards.
“Fast-paced and engaging, this work is essential for academic readers with an interest in American literature and culture. It will also appeal to the more general reader of American biography.”
“This new biography of Wilder -- comprehensive and wisely fashioned -- gives us sufficient view of his methods, his public and private life, and the reaches of his mind…This book is a splendid and long needed work.”
“Lucid, elegantly written...there is just enough shrewd literary analysis to make us understand why this prodigally gifted writer so richly deserves an audience beyond the 12th grade.”
“Capacious and authoritative.”
“Deeply researched and fluidly readable.”
“The best kind of literary biography, one likely to send the reader back (or perhaps for the first time) to the author’s works.”
“Essential. . . . Studiously researched and measured. . . . The great strength of ‘Thornton Wilder: A Life’ is how well it fuses the early years of the Wilder biography with the themes that informed his works.”
“Niven complements her own clear, lyrical voice with the eloquent words of Steichen’s contemporaries...”
“Niven complements her own clear, lyrical voice with the eloquent words of Steichen’s contemporaries.”
“Almost everybody knows OUR TOWN, but very few people really know Thornton Wilder. Penelope Niven’s fascinating biography changes that once and for all…Meticulously researched, Niven’s book reads like a riveting novel.”