“An extremely entertaining array of American life in a bygone era.” — New Yorker
The last of Thornton Wilder’s works published during his lifetime, Theophilus North is part autobiographical and part the imagined adventures of Wilder’s twin brother who died at birth. This edition features an updated afterword from Wilder’s nephew, Tappan Wilder, with illuminating material about the novelist, story and setting.
Setting out to see the world in the summer of 1926, Theophilus North gets as far as Newport, Rhode Island, before his car breaks down. To support himself, Theophilus takes jobs in the elegant mansions along Ocean Drive, just as Wilder himself did in the same decade. Soon the young man finds himself playing the roles of tutor, tennis coach, spy, confidant, lover, friend and enemy as he becomes entangled in adventure and intrigue in Newport’s fabulous addresses, as well as in its local boarding houses, restaurants, dives and military barracks.
Narrated by the elderly North from a distance of fifty years, Theophilus North is a fascinating commentary on youth and education from the vantage point of age, and deftly displays Wilder’s trademark wit juxtaposed with his lively and timeless ruminations on what really matters, at the end of the day, about life, love, and work.