WILDER, THORNTON. 1897-1975.
"MY FEELING IS THAT THE TIMES WE LIVE IN ARE SO TURBULENT THAT THEY CAN ONLY BE APPROACHED IN THE COMIC SPIRIT..."
15 Autograph Letters Signed (mostly in initials "T.N." or "T.N.W." but 1 "Thornton" and 1 "Thornton Wilder"), and 1 Autograph Letter, 39 pp, 4to or 8vo, various places, 1962-1974, half on personal stationery, autograph envelopes present (some signed "T N Wilder"), to JAMES LEO HERLIHY.
Fine and lengthy correspondence covering Thornton Wilder's literary advice to the younger writer and many juicy vignettes from his own life, written in a brave, comic, and anecdotal style while addressing both Herlihy's writer's block or depression and his own illness. Variously, "Soon the world will get sick of all this subjective writingplots save us from that. The Iliad and War & Peace are objective; the writers have digested their turbulent subjectivity." (May 24, 1969); "What's this about a tape recorder? That's the tool of the social scientists. You have a perfect ear for colloquial speechand a memory which retains what it can use." (June 21, 1969); "I decided to go to the desert and be a hermit. From the map I picked out Patagonia, Arizona (as children we didn't say 'Go to hell' but 'Go to Patagonia!') I drove across the country for the sixth time ... Took me three months to blow the cobwebs of self-conscious genteeldom out of my head. Then I started the novel..." (July 25, 1969); "That line you quote has been thrown back at me by acquaintances and strangers: 'it's the duty of the old to lie to the young.' Damn it." (Sept 25, 1969); "Every creative artifact is a probe into the question: why are we alive? what is being alive. [EXCEPT dead 'academic' novels and paintings which are soulless un-understanding copies of previous works. This does not necessarily mean best sellers and popular 'trash' which are often fine examples of asking the basic question, vide Ben Hur and Little Women and Gone with the Wind]" (May 27, 1970). Letters mention Midnight Cowboy, Gertrude Stein, the Kanins, opinions on various authors and specific works, the Kennedys, hippies, etc.