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Three Plays by Thornton Wilder, Signed Custom Harcourt Binding



Three Plays by Thornton Wilder

Our Town, The Skin of Our Teeth, and The Matchmaker

Published by The Franklin Library in 1980

Signed Custom Binding by the Harcourt Bindery

FINE Condition

Binding Details:  Custom leather binding by the Harcourt Bindery, Charlestown, Massachusetts bound in morocco leather over marbled boards that has raised bands to the spine, gilt titling, and elaborate gilt decorations and ruling. There are gilt lines to the covers, hand-sewn silk headbands, and all page ends are gold gilted. The Harcourt Bindery label appears on the bottom of the first free endpaper.

Book Details:  Three Plays was originally published in 1957. This is the Franklin Library edition published in 1980 as part of their Greatest Masterpieces of American Literature series. The three plays are:

Our Town—Wilder's timeless 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning look at love, death, and destiny is celebrated around the world and performed at least once each day in the United States.

The Skin of our Teeth—Wilder's 1942 romp about human follies and human endurance starring the Antrobus family of Excelsior, New Jersey. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1943.

The Matchmaker—Wilder's brilliant 1954 farce about money and love starring that irrepressible busybody Dolly Gallagher Levi. This play inspired the Broadway musical Hello, Dolly!

David G Anderson in his article “About the Playwright: The Matchmaker” wrote, “In his preface to Three Plays, Thornton Wilder advanced the idea that drama has the ability to awaken the audience to what it means to be alive. He also argued that the stage of his day often sacrificed that same ability. He insisted plays were generally “soothing,” catering to the middle class, and “passively diversionary.” In attempting to stem that tide, Wilder became a revolutionary; his experiments and inventiveness in theatre extended to a scene-less stage, pantomime, imaginary props, erratic jumps in time sequences, and the utilization of a stage manager as a character, borrowing not only from the ancient Greek and Victorian “Chorus,” but expanding upon it. Travis Bogard, in Modern Drama: Essays in Criticism, noted that Wilder was “a man who, along with [fellow U.S. playwright] Eugene O’Neill, freed the American theatre from its traditional forms through his experiments in Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth.” Not as prolific as many of his contemporaries, Wilder, however, was awarded three Pulitzer Prizes in two different categories: fiction and drama. His first prize came in 1928 for his novel, The Bridge of San Louis Rey. The others were awarded in 1938 and 1945 for plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth.”

Measures approximately 9” x 6” with 456 pages as well as a preface by the author. The illustrations in the book are by Jim Campbell.

 Condition Report: The binding is in FINE condition. Internally, the book is very clean with no signs of previous ownership. Overall, this is a beautiful binding that houses three of Thornton Wilder’s most popular plays.

A photograph of the binding appears in the photo section of the listing.