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Theophilus North: A Novel

Theophilus North: A Novel

Current price: $15.99
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2019
Harper Perennial Modern Classics
Charter Books
On hand, as of Mar 3 2:37am
(Fiction - General)
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“An extremely entertaining array of American life in a bygone era.” — New Yorker

The last of Thornton Wilder’s works published during his lifetime, Theophilus North is part autobiographical and part the imagined adventures of Wilder’s twin brother who died at birth. This edition features an updated afterword from Wilder’s nephew, Tappan Wilder, with illuminating material about the novelist, story and setting.

Setting out to see the world in the summer of 1926, Theophilus North gets as far as Newport, Rhode Island, before his car breaks down. To support himself, Theophilus takes jobs in the elegant mansions along Ocean Drive, just as Wilder himself did in the same decade. Soon the young man finds himself playing the roles of tutor, tennis coach, spy, confidant, lover, friend and enemy as he becomes entangled in adventure and intrigue in Newport’s fabulous addresses, as well as in its local boarding houses, restaurants, dives and military barracks.

Narrated by the elderly North from a distance of fifty years, Theophilus North is a fascinating commentary on youth and education from the vantage point of age, and deftly displays Wilder’s trademark wit juxtaposed with his lively and timeless ruminations on what really matters, at the end of the day, about life, love, and work.

About the Author

Thornton Wilder (1897-1975) was an accomplished novelist and playwright whose works, exploring the connection between the commonplace and cosmic dimensions of human experience, continue to be read and produced around the world. His Bridge of San Luis Rey, one of seven novels, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1928, as did two of his four full-length dramas, Our Town (1938) and The Skin of Our Teeth (1943). Wilder's The Matchmaker was adapted as the musical Hello, Dolly!. He also enjoyed enormous success with many other forms of the written and spoken word, among them teaching, acting, the opera, and films. (His screenplay for Hitchcock's Shadow of Doubt [1943] remains a classic psycho-thriller to this day.) Wilder's many honors include the Gold Medal for Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the National Book Committee's Medal for Literature.

Praise for Theophilus North: A Novel

“An extremely entertaining array of American life in a bygone era.” — New Yorker

“An irresistible book.” — New York Times Book Review

“A wonderfully entertaining novel. . . . The writing, most of it in dialogue, is supple, civilized, radiant with wisdom. . . . To be able to write a book as genial as this, and one as wholly unassuming, at close on eighty years of age is itself a testimony to the human race.” — Geoffrey Wagner, National Review