Talk:Thornton Wilder

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Matchmaker and Dolly?[edit]

Was Hello, Dolly based on The Matchmaker, or was it based on The Merchant of Yonkers? Dpbsmith (talk) 13:35, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The musical is adapted directly from the Matchmaker, which was a reworking of the Merchant of Yonkers, , according to the Thornton Wilder Society [1]. The reference to Johann Nestroy's play, which the Society argues was itself inspired by an earlier play, seems too-prominent. -Willmcw 20:58, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)


[[Category:Wisconsin writers|Wilder, Thornton

Looking at his Wiki biography and another one, I don't see any evidence that Wilder spent significant time in Wisconsin after he left to go to boarding school. "People from Wisconsin" is accurate, but I don't think he can be called a "Wisconsin writer". Is there any other information about his time in Wisconsin? Cheers, -Willmcw 22:14, May 24, 2005 (UTC)

China -> Asia?[edit]

An anon changed "China" to "Asia" in the sentence:

...spending part of his childhood in China...

I'm reverting it, because he did grow in China. For example, [2] "Thornton Wilder had firsthand experience of China in the early 1910s when his father was appointed American consul in Shanghai."

I can't figure out what the anon had in mind, unless he thinks "Asia" is a politically-correct synonym for China.

Now, one could change that to say he spent his childhood in "the Earth, the Solar System, the Universe, the Mind of God..." Dpbsmith (talk) 00:30, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

Disgusting comments[edit]

I just cleaned this article up, after someone changed the titles of Wilder's plays to "A Day in the Life of a Dead Homo" and other such bigoted tripe.


"Wilder was active in many student groups: T.B.I.Y.T.B." I tried to find a reference to this but wasn't successful, although it is mentioned in the Yale Press. Is it one group? Several? What does it do? Lordknave (talk) 20:42, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Wilder as existentialist[edit]

Their is no doubt about the subject treatment in Wilder's plays as having been influenced by Existentialism, and apparently Sarte is who interested him in Existentialism. Wilder certainly didn't buy Sarte's brand of atheism as anyone who reads his plays will see. However to state that Wilder understood atheism as an essential part of existentialism is too much to assert. After all Sarte was a communist; does that mean that existentrialism is defined by communisim? Certainly not. Existentialism precedes and is much too wide in scope to encompass any particular theology including atheism. That was simply Sarte's choice and belief; it is not a tenet of Existentialism. In fact Camus and Nietsche [among others such as Kant and Dovstovesky]] helped define Existentialism so that such narrow focus as is implied in the statement in this article would never be characterisitic of Existentialism. (talk) 07:49, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

Atheism isn't a theology--it is precisely the absence of theological modes of "thinking." And you're suggesting that Nietzsche believed in a supernatural being? DionysosProteus (talk) 13:18, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

Copyright problem[edit]


This article has been reverted by a bot to this version as part of a large-scale clean-up project of multiple article copyright infringement. (See the investigation subpage) This has been done to remove User:Accotink2's contributions as they have a history of extensive copyright violation and so it is assumed that all of their major contributions are copyright violations. Earlier text must not be restored, unless it can be verified to be free of infringement. For legal reasons, Wikipedia cannot accept copyrighted text or images borrowed from other web sites or printed material; such additions must be deleted. Contributors may use sources as a source of information, but not as a source of sentences or phrases. Accordingly, the material may be rewritten, but only if it does not infringe on the copyright of the original or plagiarize from that source. Please see our guideline on non-free text for how to properly implement limited quotations of copyrighted text. Wikipedia takes copyright violations very seriously. VWBot (talk) 13:16, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

Sexual orientation[edit]

There seems to be a properly-sourced statement, under "Personal Life," about Wilder as having been homosexual. If correct, this seems like a salient piece of biographical information. It's always the work that's most important, but usually biography is considered a legitimate part of an encyclopedia article about an author. It seems just as important as many other facts. To appreciate Wilder's work, is it necessary to know how the man looked? Is the fact that he grew up in China directly relevant to an understanding of Our Town? Does the fact that he taught French in a prep school connect in any way with Heaven's Our Destination? No. But when we are interested in an author's work, we are often interested in the author himself. Sexual orientation strikes almost as close to the core of identity as gender itself. It seems to me that we should no more suppress information on Wilder's sexuality than we would on George Eliot's sex.

Of course if the information isn't properly sourced we should remove it. And if there is Wikipedia policy that says that homosexuality should not be mentioned in biographies unless the author self-identified as homosexual we should respect that policy. Is there such a policy?

And if there is a policy that says that nothing should be mentioned in an author's biography unless a source can be cited showing a direct connection between the biographical fact and the author's work, we should respect it. Is there such a policy?

The information should probably be integrated into the rest of the biography rather than broken out into a separate section. Dpbsmith (talk) 03:28, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

One year later we have one unsourced quip that he became bisexual at 21 (end of "Personal life") and one that he had a bad farting problem (end of "Early years"). Both look like vandalism to me, in that they are so short, and stuck onto the ends of the article sections, and i deem their content appealing to vandals.
This hour I visited in the course of covering all U.S. National Book Awards. --and discovered only afterward that I am the fifth editor today. I presume that the Talk page also is on some watchlists. --P64 (talk) 21:39, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
As of -03-29 21:00 User:Jdsteakley and I have reverted the three-part vandalism 28 March 2012‎ (about ten consecutive edits by one user) --P64 (talk) 20:59, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

I thought that it was agreed that the 'homosexual' statements were vandalism. Why is this article on the list of LGBT articles? Andrei Bolkonsky (talk) 01:44, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

It is easily sourced to a variety of reliable sources like these books and more.
I'm not sure whether you're asking about the WikiProject LGBT tag at the top of this page or the presence of categories like Category:Gay writers on the article itself. In the case of WPLGBT, then it's because that group of people would like to help improve it; see WP:PROJ#OWN. In the case of the second, it's because readers who are looking for information about gay writers might want to read about this writer. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:24, 21 November 2014 (UTC)

I don't doubt that Wilder was gay, but I have not seen any source that he identified himself as gay. If Wikipedia is going to say he was, we need strong sources for that. Let's discuss that here. Jonathunder (talk) 15:38, 24 November 2014 (UTC)

Hi Jonathunder,
If we're going to say that Wilder was a closeted gay man, then all we need is reliable sources to verify this statement, and multiple such sources have already been provided.
The standard rules are at WP:EGRS, and they are:

For a dead person, there must be a verified consensus of reliable published sources that the description is appropriate. Historically, LGBT people often did not come out in the way that they commonly do today, so a person's own self-identification is, in many cases, impossible to verify by the same standards that would be applicable to a contemporary BLP. For a dead person, a broad consensus of academic and/or biographical scholarship about the topic is sufficient to describe a person as LGBT. For example, while some sources have claimed that William Shakespeare was gay or bisexual, there is not a sufficient consensus among scholars to support categorizing him as such — but no such doubt exists about the sexuality of Oscar Wilde or Radclyffe Hall.

Notice that "publicly self-identified" is not part of these rules (that particular standard only applies to living people). It appears to me that this requirement is amply satisfied in Wilder's case. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:36, 25 November 2014 (UTC)
What you quoted says you need a "broad consensus" of academic or biographical scholarship, not just a couple of sources. Please don't keep reverting to your point of view without providing evidence of that "broad consensus" here so we can discuss it. Jonathunder (talk) 20:36, 25 November 2014 (UTC)
Okay... You said that you believe Wilder was gay. I've given you three books that say he was gay, using those exact words. You provide exactly zero sources saying that he wasn't. The only source I've seen that appears to even slightly dispute this is the one that you keep re-emphasizing—the one that some editor strangely wrote provides "provides considerable correspondence evidence" (despite the book making no such judgment about its own contents, so that's a NOR violation) against "uncorroborated and unsubstantiated claims" (despite the book citing some limited evidence in favor of the claim, so that's a WP:V violation). Oh, and what Niven does cite in that "correspondence evidence" is a letter to his mother and Isabel, shortly after Steward's departure, that indeed says that he had just begun work on the third act of that play.
Could I get you to actually read that source instead of assuming that its contents were perfectly represented by a brand-new, single-edit user two years ago? It's a long book, so I've added the most relevant page numbers to help you out. Take a look at Niven's statement on page 440, too: "Wilder was essentially a deeply private man, the product of a repressive upbringing in an intolerant, unforgiving, legally repressive era. Heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or asexual—whatever his inclinations and involvements may have been—he...would have instinctively protected his own privacy as well as that of his sex partners". That doesn't really sound like Niven declaring that he was definitely not gay, does it? If anything, it appears to be an excellent support for the closeted part of the claim.
So I ask you: Just how many sources to be given (sources that you don't appear to actually have been looking at?), before you will agree that there is "broad consensus" for this claim? If you have taken even the briefest glance at the available sources, you will see that the only problem anyone will have in providing as many as you would like is wondering whether it's worth the time to paste links onto the page for someone who doesn't seem to be willing to read any of them or to look for any on his own. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:33, 26 November 2014 (UTC)