Thornton Wilder, fully Thornton Niven Wilder

Thornton
Wilder, fully Thornton Niven Wilder
1897
1975

American Playwright and Novelist awarded three Pulitzer Prizes

Author Quotes

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.

We do not choose the day of our birth nor may we choose the day of our death, yet choice is the sovereign faculty of the mind.

The unencumbered stage encourages the truth operative in everyone. The less seen, the more heard. The eye is the enemy of the ear in real drama.

We live in what is, but we find 1,000 ways not to face it. Great theatre strengthens our faculty to face it.

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.

Many who have dedicated their life to love, can tell us less about this subject than a child who lost his dog yesterday.

Only it seems to me that once in your life before you die you ought to see a country where they don't talk in English and don't even want to.

It is very necessary to have markers of beauty left in a world seemingly bent on making the most evil ugliness.

Many who have spent a lifetime can tell us less of love than the child that lost a dog yesterday.

People are meant to go through life two by two. ’Tain’t natural to be lonesome.

It required all his delicate Epicurean education to prevent his doing something about it; he had to repeat over to himself his favorite notions: that the injustice and unhappiness in the world is a constant; that the theory of progress is a delusion; that the poor, never having known happiness, are insensible to misfortune. 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.

Marriage is a bribe to make the housekeeper think she's a householder.

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