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Our Town
Masterpiece Theatre Our Town
Teacher's Guide [imagemap with 7 links]


Writings by Thornton Wilder

The Russian Princess, 1913
The Trumpet Shall Sound, 1926
The Angel That Troubled the Waters, 1928
The Long Christmas Dinner and Other Plays, 1931
Lucrèce (translation), 1932
A Doll's House (adaptation), 1937
Our Town, 1938
The Merchant of Yonkers, 1939
The Skin of Our Teeth, 1942
The Victors (translation), 1948
The Matchmaker, 1955
The Alcestiad, 1955
Plays for Bleecker Street, 1962

The Cabala, 1926
The Bridge of San Luis Rey, 1927
The Woman of Andros, 1930
Heaven's My Destination, 1935
The Ides of March, 1948
The Eighth Day, 1967
Theophilus North, 1973

Opera Libretti
The Long Christmas Dinner, 1961
The Alcestiad, 1962

Shadow of a Doubt, 1943

American Characteristics and Other Essays, 1979
The Journals of Thorton Wilder, 1939-1961, 1985

NOTE: Companion editions of Our Town are available from HarperCollins (hardcover) and Perennial (paperback).


Goldstone, Richard H. Thornton Wilder: An Intimate Portrait. New York: Saturday Review Press, 1975.

Harrison, Gilbert A. The Enthusiast: A Life of Thornton Wilder. New Haven, CT: Ticknor & Fields, 1983.

Simon, Linda. Thornton Wilder: His World. New York: Doubleday, 1979.

Burns, Edward, and Ulla E. Dydo, eds. The Letters of Gertrude Stein and Thornton Wilder. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996.

Bryer, Jackson R., ed. Conversations with Thornton Wilder. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1992.

Blank, Martin. ed. Critical Essays on Thornton Wilder. New York: G.K. Hall, 1996.

Blank, Martin, Dalma Hunyadi Brunauer, and David Garrett Izzo, eds. Thornton Wilder: New Essays. West Cornwall, CT: Locust Hill Press, 1999.

Burbank, Rex. Thornton Wilder. Boston, MA: Twayne, 1978.

Castronovo, David. Thornton Wilder. New York: Ungar, 1986.

Goldstein, Malcolm. The Art of Thornton Wilder. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1965.

Haberman, Donald C. The Plays of Thornton Wilder: A Critical Study. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1967.

Haberman, Donald C. Our Town: An American Play. Boston, MA: Twayne, 1989.

de Koster, Katie, ed. Readings on Thornton Wilder. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1998.

Kuner, Mildred Christophe. Thornton Wilder: The Bright and the Dark. New York: Crowell, 1972.

Lifton, Paul. Vast Encyclopedia: The Theatre of Thornton Wilder. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1995.

Mordden, Ethan. The American Theatre. New York: Oxford University Press, 1981.

Smith, Joel A., ed. Wilder Rediscovered: Brown-Forman Classics in Context Festival. Actors Theatre of Louisville, 1997.

Stresau, Hermann. Thornton Wilder. trans. Frieda Schutze. New York: Ungar, 1971.

Wilder, Amos Niven. Thornton Wilder and His Public. Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press, 1980.

Web Sites

Thornton Wilder Society
Offers a variety of resources including an illustrated Thornton biography, a "Wilder and Film" essay by Susan D. Thomas, current articles of interest, and an extensive bibliography for Thornton Wilder and Our Town.

"The Uncommon Decency Behind Wilder's Books: Beyond Grover's Corners Platitudes Lies Something Deeper, for Goodness' Sake"
In a Washington Post article, staff writer Philip Kennicott explores facets of Wilder's writings that reveal his human empathy, while examining the personal struggles behind it.

The Bridge of San Luis Rey, An Opera
Inspired by Wilder's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, composer Paula Kimper has written an opera by the same name, set in Peru in 1714.

If you are an NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) member, you may find the following two sites useful. To become a member, visit the NCTE Web site.
    "Our Class Assists with Our Town"
    Log in and scroll down to 1999 January Classroom Notes Plus, v16.3 and then find the full text for the article "Our Class Assists with Our Town", which describes an original classroom exercise that teacher Kristen Burgess used to help her students appreciate how ordinary life occurrences can be turned into drama.

    "Focus on Teaching the Decades"
    Log in and scroll down to 2000 January Classroom Notes Plus, v17.3 and then find the full text for the "Focus on Teaching the Decades" articles, which provide classroom strategies that help students relate to modern history through the lens of literature. It features ideas on how to do guided "time travel."
Computer Learning Foundation's Our Town Student Web Project
Describes a Web-based student project in which students researched their town and developed a related Our Town Web site.

Modern British, Irish, and American Drama: A Descriptive Chronology, 1865-1965
Developed by Binghamton University. Offers a chronicle of British, Irish, and American drama that can be accessed by decade and by year. Information about Our Town can be found under 1938.

The Small Town Setting

Use the list below to compare and contrast Our Town with other works set in small towns (see After Viewing question #2). Many contemporary young adult books are also set in small towns, such as The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier. Ask the school librarian or young adult librarian for additional suggestions.

All the Right Moves
American Graffiti
Groundhog Day
It's a Wonderful Life
La Bamba
The Majestic
That Thing You Do
The Truman Show

Dawson's Creek
The Gilmore Girls

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
A Death in the Family by James Agee
A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
Mama Day by Gloria Naylor
My Antonia by Willa Cather
Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson

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