Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Thomas P. Walsh


“The art of literature springs from two curiosities, a curiosity about human beings pushed to such an extreme that it resembles love, and a love of a few masterpieces of literature so absorbing that it has all the richest elements of curiosity… The training for literature must be acquired by the artist alone, through the passionate assimilation of a few masterpieces written from a spirit somewhat like his own, and of a few masterpieces written from a spirit not at all like his own.” Thus, early in his writing career, Pulitzer Prize winner, Thornton Wilder, identified the sources of his literary expression. This curiosity about human beings, it seems to me, is reflected in the very humanity of Wilder’s literary characters; it serves as the basic premise of this paper. Wilder’s curiosity about human beings resemble love and that he projects it to the whole human race, the “family of man.” Artistically he achieves this through an adroit technique of dual vision for the reader, by rendering the particular through the exposition of his narrative, and at the same time, encompassing a border view of humanity from an omniscient viewpoint.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of English and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1972 Virginia M. Clark.

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