||Novelist and playwright Thornton Wilder was born
in Madison, Wisconsin on April 17, 1897. Writing ran in the family. His
father Amos was an editor and journalist and his mother Isabella was a
poet. The family lived in Madison until 1906 when they moved to Hong Kong
when Wilder's father was appointed American consul general.
Wilder attended Oberlin College and Yale University and received his master's
degree from Princeton in 1926. During the 1920's, to support himself,
Wilder taught French and English at various schools and wrote scripts for
silent films. He wrote his first novel, The Cabela, in 1926.
His second novel, The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1927), won the Pulitzer
Prize in 1928. His other novels include
The Ides of March (1948)
and The Eighth Day (1967), for which Wilder was awarded the 1968
National Book Award. Other novels include: Woman of Andros (1930);
My Destination (1935); Theophilus North (1973); The Alcestiad,
or A Life In The Sun (1977).
Wilder was a playwright as well as a novelist. Our Town (1938),
a look at small-town American life, brought Wilder the 1938 Pulitzer Prize
in drama. The Skin of Our Teeth (1942) won the 1943 Pulitzer Prize
in drama. The Matchmaker (1954), one of Wilder's more successful
works, evolved into the musical comedy Hello, Dolly. Other
plays include: Angel That Troubled the Waters and other Plays (1928);
Long Christmas Dinner and Other Plays in One Act (1931); Merchant
of Yonkers (1939); Childhood (1960); and Infancy (1960).