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The Bridge of San Luis Rey Essay & Criticism

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Critical Overview

Thornton Wilder's literary reputation is primarily based on his work as a playwright, not as a novelist. Of the few works of fiction he did produce, The Bridge of San Luis Rey is by far the most celebrated. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1928, though he won two Pulitzers for drama, for Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth. Bernard Grebanier, in his 1964 pamphlet about Wilder for the University of Minnesota Press, explained why: “In an era overrun by naturalistic novels, against which James Branch Cabell was almost the only challenger, Wilder calmly took his place as a leading storyteller who could not be satisfied with a documentation of the externalities of life, yet without adopting Cabell's deliberate escape from the realities of experience.” In other words, Wilder's writing straddles the fine line between faith and rationality.

While not fitting into the category of “naturalistic” fiction, the...

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This section contains 298 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Bridge of San Luis Rey Study Guide
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The Bridge of San Luis Rey from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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