Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Moseley, Virginia Douglas, 1917-||Murray, Don, 1917-

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of English


Wilder; Thornton; 1897-1975


The Aesthetics of Thornton Wilder As A Dramatist: Thorton Wilder asserts that the theatre maintains a live immediate contact between the actor and the audience as its principal function, and that the theatre remains the best way by which one human being can share an experience with another. Accordingly, wilder has fused the abstract theories of a universal man to the expressionistic techniques of theatricalism. His universal man tries to find some reasons for existence in the permanent values of the events of everyday life. These values are based on the humanist philosophy, the tenets of which place him at the core of the cosmos. Modifying the belief, Wilder asserts that in matters of religion man is free and responsible for his own moral choices. Into his most successful three-act plays—Our Town, The Skin of Our Teeth, and The Matchmaker—Wilder has woven these philosophies. Wilder's theatre is based on theatrical "make-believe" of settings and actions, which function to present life, not lives. The most prominent of these techniques is the "stage-manager," who maintains the contact with the audience and provides the author with a narrative style that permits him a voice other than that dramatized by the action. Another technique is the "group-mind" material: general in nature but specific enough to be understood in the experiences of the individual, it contains Wilder's philosophy of universal man and the belief that life is worth living despite its limitations.


Includes bibliographical references.


v, 61 pages




Northern Illinois University

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