Thornton Wilder

The Eighth Day/Theophilus North/Autobiographical Writings

By J. D. McClatchy (Editor)
(Library of America, Hardcover, 9781598531466, 864pp.)

Publication Date: February 2012

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"The best thing he ever wrote," observed Edmund Wilson of Thornton Wilder's National Book Award winner "The Eighth Day" (1967), an enthralling novel that shows Wilder revisiting the small-town America of "Our Town" to fashion a philosophical whodunit. A wrongful conviction for murder and a daring rescue lead to a meditation on justice, destiny, and "the impassioned will," for which "nothing is impossible." Wilder's last novel, the semi-autobiographical "Theophilus North" (1973), is an affectionate portrait of Newport, Rhode Island, in the 1920s and a playful, valedictory glance at Wilder's young manhood. Completing this volume are three never-before- published reminiscences taken from an unfinished autobiography in which Wilder engagingly recalls his childhood stay at a boarding school in China, his time as an undergraduate at Yale, and the uneasy experience of visiting Salzburg not long before Austria was annexed by the Nazis.
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