Thornton Wilder: Beyond Our Town, with John Dennis Anderson and John Shuman
Nine class meetings at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre
Mondays, October 17, 24, 31 November 7, 14 1-3 p.m.
Fridays, October 21, 28, November 4, 11 1-3 p.m.
Though best known for his Pulitzer-Prize winning plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth, Thornton Wilder also wrote fiction, winning his first Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey. This course surveys Wilder’s wide-ranging body of work in multiple genres with a focus on his epic novel The Eighth Day, which was awarded the National Book Award in 1968. Wilder said the novel, a murder mystery and philosophical tale, was “as though Little Women were being mulled over by Dostoevsky.”
This interdisciplinary class will hear dramatic readings of fiction in the Monday classes each week, followed with discussions of the themes and subjects that recur in Wilder’s work. In the four Friday meetings, the class will screen videos of Wilder plays and films.
Students in the class should buy the Harper Perennial Modern Classics edition of The Eighth Day. In his introduction, John Updike writes of the novel, “Untidy, self-delightingly, it brims with wonder and wisdom, and aspires to prophecy. We marvel at a novel of such spiritual ambition and benign flamboyance.”