Thornton Wilder, fully Thornton Niven Wilder

Thornton
Wilder, fully Thornton Niven Wilder
1897
1975

American Playwright and Novelist awarded three Pulitzer Prizes

Author Quotes

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.

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 very angels themselves cannot persuade the wretched and blundering children on earth as can one human being broken on the wheels of living.

We ourselves shall be loved for awhile and forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses

The whole purport of literature... is the notation of the heart. Style is but the faintly contemptible vessel in which the bitter liquid is recommended to the world.

When God loves a creature he wants the creature to know the highest happiness and the deepest misery He wants him to know all that being alive can bring. That is his best gift. There is no happiness save in understanding the whole.

There are the stars--doing their old, old crisscross journeys in the sky. Scholars haven't settled the matter yet, but they seem to think there are no living beings out there. Just chalk... or fire. Only this one is straining away, straining away all the time to make something of itself. Strain's so bad that every sixteen hours everybody lies down and gets a rest.

When you're safe at home you wish you were having an adventure; when you're having an adventure you wish you were safe at home.

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