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 drunkenness equal to that of remembering whispered words in the night.

Whenever you get near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense.

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 condition of leadership adds new degrees of solitariness to the basic solitude of mankind. Every order that we issue increases the extent to which we are alone, and every show of deference which is extended to us separates us from our fellows.

The dead don't stay interested in us living people for very long. Gradually, gradually, they let go hold of the earth . . . and the ambitions they had . . . and the things they suffered . . . and the people they loved. They get weaned away from the earth - that's the way I put it - weaned away.

The earth sighed as it turned in its course; the shadow of night crept gradually along the Mediterranean, and Asia was left in darkness.

The first and last schoolmaster of life is living and committing oneself unreservedly and dangerously to living; to men who know this an Aristotle and a Plato have much to say; but those who have imposed cautions on themselves and petrified themselves in a system of ideas, them the masters themselves will lead into error

The future author is one who discovers that language, the exploration and manipulation of the resources of language, will serve him in winning through to his way.

The future is the most expensive luxury in the world.

The highest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude.

Life is an unbroken succession of false situations.

Now he discovered that secret from which one never quite recovers, that even in the most perfect love one person loves less profoundly than the other. There may be two equally good, equally gifted, equally beautiful, but there may never be two that love one another equally well.

Style is but the faintly contemptible vessel in which the bitter liquid is recommended to the world.

Like all solitary persons he had invested friendship with a divine glamour: he imagined that the people he passed on the street, laughing together and embracing when they parted, the people who dined together with so many smiles, you will scarcely believe me, but he imagined that they were extracting from all that congeniality great store of satisfaction.

Nurse one vice in your bosom. Give it the attention it deserves and let your virtues spring up modestly around it. Then you'll have the miser who's no liar; and the drunkard who's the benefactor of a whole city.

That’s what it was like 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 though 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.

Like all the rich he could not bring himself to believe that the poor (look at their houses, look at their clothes!) could really suffer. Like all the cultivated he believed that only the widely read could be said to know that they were unhappy.

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