Thornton Wilder, fully Thornton Niven Wilder

Thornton
Wilder, fully Thornton Niven Wilder
1897
1975

American Playwright and Novelist awarded three Pulitzer Prizes

Author Quotes

There is no need for me to curse you -the murderer survives the victim only to learn that it was himself that he longed to be rid of. Hatred is self-hatred.

Where there is an unknowable there is a promise.

There is not a single untruth, no -but after ten lines Truth shrieks, she runs distraught and disheveled through her temple's corridors; she does not know herself. 'I can endure lies,' she cries. 'I cannot survive this stifling verisimilitude

Wherever you come near the human race there’s layers and layers of nonsense.

There's nothing like eavesdropping to show you that the world outside your head is different from the world inside your head.

Winning children (who appear so guileless) are children who have discovered how effective charm and modesty and a delicately calculated spontaneity are in winning what they want.

The knowledge that she would never be loved in return acted upon her ideas as a tide acts upon cliffs. Her religious beliefs went first, for all she could ask of a god, or of immortality, was the gift of a place where daughters love their mothers; the other attributes of Heaven you could have for a song. Next she lost her belief in the sincerity of those about her. She secretly refused to believe that anyone (herself excepted) loved anyone. All families lived in a wasteful atmosphere of custom and kissed one another with secret indifference. She saw that the people of this world moved about in an armor of egotism, drunk with self-gazing, a thirst for compliments, hearing little of what was said to them, unmoved by the accidents that befell their closest friends, in dread of all appeals that might interrupt their long communion with their own desires. These were the sons and daughters of Adam from Cathay to Peru. And when on the balcony her thoughts reached this turn, her mouth would contract with shame for she knew that she too sinned and that though her love for her daughter was vast enough to include all the colors of love, it was not without a shade of tyranny: she loved her daughter not for her daughter's sake, but for her own. She longed to free herself from this ignoble bond; but the passion was too fierce to cope with.

There's nothing like mixing with a woman to bring out all the foolishness in a man of sense.

Without your wounds where would your power be? It is your melancholy that makes your low voice tremble into the hearts of men and women. The very angels themselves cannot persuade the wretched and blundering children on earth as can one human being broken on the wheels of living. In Love’s service, only wounded soldiers can serve. Physician, draw back.

The mind of Caesar. It is the reverse of most men's. It rejoices in committing itself. To us arrive each day a score of challenges; we must say yes or no to decisions that will set off chains of consequences. Some of us deliberate; some of us refuse the decision, which is itself a decision; some of us leap giddily into the decision, setting our jaws and closing our eyes, which is the sort of decision of despair. Caesar embraces decision. It is as though he felt his mind to be operating only when it is interlocking itself with significant consequences. Caesar shrinks from no responsibility. He heaps more and more upon his shoulders.

They had been brought up to think that the domestic virtues were self-evident and universal; they had been starved of the knowledge that most attracts the young mind: that the crown of life is the exercise of choice

Yes. Now you know. Now you know. That's what it was to be alive, to move about in a cloud of ignorance, to go up and down trampling on the feelings of those-- of those about you, to spend and waste time as if you had a million years, to be always at the mercy of one self-centered passion or another. Now you know, that's the 'happy' existence you wanted to go back to. Ignorance and blindness.

The planting of trees is the least self-centered of all that we can do. It is a purer act of faith than the procreation of children.

Those who are silent, self-effacing and attentive become the recipients of confidences.

You have to love life to have life, and you need to have life to love life

The public for which masterpieces are intended is not of this earth.

True influence over another comes not from a moments eloquence nor from any happily chosen word, but from the accumulation of a lifetime's thoughts stored up in the eyes...the secret smile in the eyes of a friend

You swore you loved me, and laughed and warned me that you would not love me forever.

The test of an adventure is that when you're in the middle of it, you say to yourself, 'Oh, now I've got myself into an awful mess; I wish I were sitting quietly at home.' And the sign that something's wrong with you is when you sit quietly at home wishing you were out having lots of adventure.

We all have time to expend on what is essential to our nature.

The theatre is supremely fitted to say: ''Behold! These things are.'' Yet most dramatists employ it to say: ''This moral truth can be learned from beholding this action.''

We all know that something is eternal. And it ain’t houses and it ain’t names, and it ain’t earth, and it ain’t even the stars . . . everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings. All the greatest people ever lived have been telling us that for five thousand years and yet you’d be surprised how people are always losing hold of it. There’s something way down deep that’s eternal about every human being.

The tiny tealeaf of consciousness spreads its bittersweet smoke through the sea of the primitive mind. Law is invented, then morality, then love, then forgiveness. Thousands and thousands of ideas, knit together over time, each one less practical and more ornamental than the last, all stretched taut above the wandering, wondering heads like a little pavilion; a temporary shelter for the human project.

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.

The type of the Inevitable is death. I remember well that in my youth I believed that I was certainly exempt from its operation. First when my daughter died, next when you were wounded, I knew that I was mortal; and now I regard those years as wasted, as unproductive, in which I was not aware that my death was certain, nay, momently possible. I can now appraise at a glance those who have not yet foreseen their death. I know them for the children they are. They think that by evading its contemplation they are enhancing the savor of life. The reverse is true: only those who have grasped their non-being are capable of praising the sunlight.

Author Picture
First Name
Thornton
Last Name
Wilder, fully Thornton Niven Wilder
Birth Date
1897
Death Date
1975
Bio

American Playwright and Novelist awarded three Pulitzer Prizes