Wilder, Thornton: The Bridge of San Luis Rey

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Julia Demmer The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder Thornton Wilder was born in Wisconsin, USA, 1897. He graduated from Yale and then spent a year at the American Academy in Rome. For the next four years Wilder taught French at a preparatory school and later English at Chicago University. During these years he also practised writing as a hobby. Wilder became one of the most popular contemporary American writers. On three occasions within 14 years he won America s most notable literary award, the Pulitzer Prize, for his novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1927), and for his plays Our Town (1938) and The Skin of Our Teeth (1942). He died in 1975. The novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey takes place in Peru, South America, and tells us about the destiny of five people. One afternoon in July, 1714, the finest bridge in Peru breaks and precipitates five travellers into the gulf below. The Peruvians are much impressed by this Act of God . Brother Juniper, a little Franciscan from Italy, happens to witness the accident. He decides to inquire into the secret lives of the five persons that were killed. He wants to know why these five people were killed and whether we all live by plan or by accident. He works for six years and writes an enormous book with all the material he has collected. One of those killed is Dona Maria, Marquesa de Montemayor. Her childhood was unhappy, she was ugly, she shuttered and her mother tormented her with sarcasm. At the age of 26 she was forced into ...

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