Treasure Island

Quotations From THORNTON WILDER

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  • 1.
    Never support two weaknesses at the same time. It's your combination sinners—your lecherous liars and your miserly drunkards—who dishonor the vices and bring them into bad repute.
    Thornton Wilder (1897-1975), U.S. novelist, dramatist. Malachi, in The Matchmaker, act 3.

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  • 2.
    A dramatist is one who believes that the pure event, an action involving human beings, is more arresting than any comment that can be made upon it.
    Thornton Wilder (1897-1975), U.S. novelist, dramatist. Interview in Writers at Work, First Series, ed. Malcolm Cowley (1958).
  • 3.
    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."
    Thornton Wilder (1897-1975), U.S. novelist, dramatist. Interview in Writers at Work, First Series, ed. Malcolm Cowley (1958).

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  • 4.
    I am convinced that, except in a few extraordinary cases, one form or another of an unhappy childhood is essential to the formation of exceptional gifts.
    Thornton Wilder (1897-1975), U.S. novelist, dramatist. Interview in Writers at Work, First Series, ed. Malcolm Cowley (1958).

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  • 5.
    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.
    Thornton Wilder (1897-1975), U.S. novelist, dramatist. Interview in Writers at Work, First Series, ed. Malcolm Cowley (1958).

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  • 6.
    Winning children (who appear so guileless) are children who have discovered how effective charm and modesty and a delicately calculated spontaneity are in winning what they want.
    Thornton Wilder (1897-1975), U.S. novelist, dramatist. Interview in Writers at Work, First Series, ed. Malcolm Cowley (1958).

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  • 7.
    Many great writers have been extraordinarily awkward in daily exchange, but the greatest give the impression that their style was nursed by the closest attention to colloquial speech.
    Thornton Wilder (1897-1975), U.S. novelist, dramatist. Interview in Writers at Work, First Series, ed. Malcolm Cowley (1958).
  • 8.
    The comic spirit is given to us in order that we may analyze, weigh, and clarify things in us which nettle us, or which we are outgrowing, or trying to reshape.
    Thornton Wilder (1897-1975), U.S. novelist, dramatist. Interview in Writers at Work, First Series, ed. Malcolm Cowley (1958).
  • 9.
    How do you know what the world is like? Do you know the world is a foul sty? Do you know if you rip the fronts off houses you'd find swine? The world is a hell. What does it matter what happens in it?
    Thornton Wilder (1897-1975), U.S. playwright, screenwriter, Sally Benson (1900-1972), Alma Reville (1900-1982), British screenwriter, and Alfred Hitchcock. Charles Oakley (Joseph Cotten), Shadow of a Doubt (1942). To his niece Charlie (Teresa Wright).

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  • 10.
    One of the dangers of the American artist is that he finds himself almost exclusively thrown in with persons more or less in the arts. He lives among them, eats among them, quarrels with them, marries them.
    Thornton Wilder (1897-1975), U.S. novelist, dramatist. Interview, Writers at Work, First Series, ed. Malcolm Cowley (1958).
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