Collection 040Thornton N. Wilder Papers
1. October 15, 1959. [Date from postmark.]
Wilder writes of taking a trip to Europe. He comments on Shakespeare's frequent use of printing as a metaphor for sexual relations and suggests "Sexual Imagery in William Shakespeare" as a title for a thesis that Gibbs is writing.
2. November 18, 1959.
Wilder comments on sexual imagery in Shakespeare's Henry IV.
3. January 1, 1960.
Wilder complains about the heat where he is staying. Sends moreexamples of sexual imagery in William Shakespeare. In Twelfth Night Act II Scene IV and in King Lear Act IV Scene VI. Wilder also states that he is planning to look through Much Ado About Nothing and As You Like It.
4. January 11, 1960. H. Lynn Sheller, Director, Fullerton Junior College to whom it may concern.
Letter of recommendation for Everett Gibbs.
5. January 19, 1960.
Wilder comments on the news that Gibbs has been dismissed from his position at Fullerton College.
6. February 26, 1961.
Wilder talks about an upcoming trip to Naples. Mentions that an American company, with Helen Hayes, will be performing one of his plays in Europe.
7. November 6, 1962.
Wilder apologizes for not writing and explains that he has spent the last six months living like a hermit out in the desert. He writes that he is thinking of returning to civilization in about a year and that he is interested about how Gibbs's thesis is coming along.
8. July 9, 1963.
Writing from Douglas, Arizona, Wilder complains about having to remain there the summer, but indicates that the novel he is writing is going well.
9. May 12, 1965. [Date from postmark.]
Sends thank you for birthday congratulations. He thinks that Hemingway is an elegant writer, but dislikes him personally. Wilder has seen Hello Dolly and enjoyed it.
10. October 5, 1965.
Wilder writes about going to his forty-fifth class reunion and a good Italian restaurant in Lenox. He gives suggestions on writing funny situations for novels.
11. November 19, 1965 [Postcard]. Isabel Wilder to Mr. Gibbs.
Change of address card for Thornton Wilder.
12. November 30, 1965. [Postcard enclosed in an envelope. Date from postmark.]
Wilder gives advice on writing humor.
13. April 17, 1966.
Wilder sends his thanks for a birthday present sent by Gibbs, a Buttercup yellow sweater. Talks about his novel and an inflammation in his eye.
14. August 7, 1966.
Advises Gibbs not to be silent if his feelings are hurt. Indicates that he is on the last lap of his latest novel.
15. October, 1966.
Wilder complains that the summer was too hot for him. Admits to glamorizing "society" in The Cabala. Encourages Gibbs to stick with teaching until he gets his doctorate. He tells Gibbs that he will soon be going abroad to Germany.
16. January 1, 1967. [Postcard.]
Wilder writes from Switzerland. Says that the sanatorium that Mann depicted inhe Magic Mountain has been turned into a hotel-"Lord be praised."
17. April 22, 1967. [Date from postmark.]
Wilder writes, thanking Gibbs for the birthday present he sent. He also says that he is looking foreword to reading Gibbs's book, wonders what Gibbs wants him to comment on and states that he is becoming more and more anti-social.
18. May 10, 1967. [Date from postmark.]
Wilder writes a short note about his vacation and that Gibbs's book "sounds extraordinary."
19. 1967. [Two postcards enclosed in envelope.]
Brief comments on Gibbs' writing.
20. May 22, 1967.
Wilder comments on Gibbs' book. He feels that it is well written, but suffers from the author's "intense emotional involvement." Not publishable in the present market.
21. June 5, 1967. [Date from postmark.]
Wilder responds to Gibbs' reaction to his comments on his book (Forty Days).He writes: "I feel fine about your letter."
22. June 25, 1967.
Wilder complains about his eyesight. He admonishes Gibbs for being too sensitive about his comments on his writing.
23. Thursday. July 1967. [Date from postmark.]
Wilder thanks Gibbs for his praise of his birthplace. Agog at learning that theclose of The Dead is "a steal from Homer." Mentioned a dinner party where alcohol was not served, but the guests were offered pot.
24. October 7, 1967.
Wilder tells Gibbs to resist any of his suggestions if he feels that he misunderstood things. Compliments Gibbs on catching a reference in his novel that no one else had.
25. December 3, 1967. [Postcard.]
Wilder sends a Christmas greeting and gives Gibbs his temporary address in Paris and tells him to write to him soon.
26. February 20, 1968.
Wilder complains about a TV production in recognition of his seventieth birthday and says that he'll have nothing to do with it. Tells Gibbs not to get discouraged and to take his book to a publisher.
27. Easter Monday 1968.
Wilder writes that he decided to open his present early because thepackage said "Letter Included" and he wanted to read the letter. Praises Gibbsfor the work he did for a Senator and is pleased with youth's involvement in politics.
28. March 24, 1969.
Wilder writes from the Canary Islands. He says that the difference between gossip and fiction is little more than a difference in tone and depth. He goes on to say that his autobiography is half written. He advises Gibbs that if he has lost confidence in story writing that he should try writing a critical study.
29. Birthday. April 17, 1969. [Year from postmark.]
Wilder writes Gibbs thanking him for the birthday present that he sent. He is delighted to hear that Gibbs is planning to write during the summer. Some of Wilder's war buddies will be dropping by to visit him and that he'll have to drop everything.
30. May 12, 1969.
31. My 73rd birthday. April 17, 1970. [Year from postmark.]
Wilder writes to Gibbs thanking him for his birthday greetings and for the news of Gibbs' book, 40 Days and 40 Nights. He hopes Gibbs enjoyed the movie "Alice's Restaurant" despite its sad message.
32. September 28 or 29, 1970.
Wilder notes the melancholy tone of Gibbs' last letter and tells him that he has spent too much time on his previous book and needs to move on to other projects.
33. December 17, 1970.
Wilder sends a Christmas greeting to Gibbs. He tells Gibbs that he is happy that he has some appreciative classes and that it is good he is working on a new book.
34. April 17, 1971. [Postcard.]
Wilder considers reading fiction as the best way to prompt ideas. He writes that "the Bridge" was partly derived from reading Fabre on insects. Recommends the movies "My Night with Maude" and "Claire's Knee."
35. December 19, 1972. [Postcard.]
Warns Gibbs to not become brooding and self-centered.
36. April 19, 1973. [Postcard.]
Wilder tells Gibbs that he finished his novel a few days earlier. He also tells Gibbs that he can use his name as a reference any time he wants. He mentions that he won't be able to go abroad this year but he will be going to Martha's Vineyard and all his mail will be forwarded to him.
37. June 4, 1973.
Wilder comments about Gibbs's upcoming move to Alaska. Warns him that loneliness might make him depressed, but tells him the people there are fine folk and will accept him after a year or so. He also asks that Gibbs keep a journal.
38. September 11, 1973. [Postcard. Date from postmark.]
Wilder complains about a slipped disk and going to the hospital. He is happy to hear that Gibbs is getting adjusted and that he hopes that Gibbs like the book he is sending.
39. September 24, 1973.
Wilder writes about the completion of his latest book and about being hospitalized with a slipped disk. He advises Gibbs on survival techniques in his new location.
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