The Cabala and The Woman of Andros

The Cabala and The Woman of Andros

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“For much of the twentieth century, these remarkable early novels were hidden in the great shadow of The Bridge of San Luis Rey. Now we can examine them in the spotlight for the gifts that they are—memorable monuments to style and keys to understanding Wilder’s genius.” — Penelope Niven, Thornton Wilder BiographerTwo early novels by the American master with a foreword by Penelope Niven and afterword with documentary material by the author’s nephew, Tappan Wilder.The Cabala, Wilder’s first novel, tells the story of a young American student who spends a year in the exotic world of post-World War I Rome. While there, he experiences firsthand the waning days of a secret community (a “cabala”) of decaying royalty, a great cardinal of the Roman Church, and an assortment of memorable American ex-pats. This semiautobiographical novel of unforgettable characters and human passions launched Wilder’s career as a celebrated storyteller and dramatist.

The Woman of Andros, set on the obscure Greek island of Brynos before the birth of Christ, explores universal questions of what is precious about life and how we live, love, and die. Eight years later, Wilder would pose those same questions on the stage in a play titled Our Town, also set in an obscure location, this time a village in New Hampshire. The Woman of Andros is celebrated for some of the most beautiful writing in American literature.

Featuring an illuminating new foreword by Penelope Niven and a revealing afterword by Tappan Wilder, this reissue of two early books by Thornton Wilder reintroduces the reader to the author’s first novel, The Cabala, and to The Woman of Andros, one of the inspirations for his Pulitzer Prize-winning play Our Town.

A young American student spends a year in the exotic world of post-World War I Rome. While there, he experiences firsthand the waning days of a secret community (a “cabala”) of decaying royalty, a great cardinal of the Roman Church, and an assortment of memorable American ex-pats. The Cabala, a semiautobiographical novel of unforgettable characters and human passions, launched Wilder’s career as a celebrated storyteller and dramatist.

The Woman of Andros, Wilder’s best-selling novel, published in 1930, is set on the obscure Greek island of Brynos before the birth of Christ, and explores Everyman questions of what is precious about life and how we live, love, and die. Eight years later, Wilder would pose the same questions on the stage in a play titled Our Town, also set in an obscure location, this time a village in New Hampshire. The Woman of Andros is celebrated for some of the most beautiful writing in American literature.

“The debut of a new American stylist…[a] significant literary event. . . . A work of art in both form and design.” “One of the most delectable myths ever issued from the hills of Rome.” “Thornton Wilder’s 1926 debut novel probes the inscrutable mystery of the ancient, fabulous wealth that confers a kind of immortality on its custodians, allowing their natures to form without concession or compromise to life beyond their privileged enclave. . . . [It] established Wilder as one of the most accomplished stylists of his generation.” “The book had form, and hardly anyone doubted from the first that Wilder would be a member of the new galaxy.” “First and last a work of art.”

Additional information

Weight 11 oz
Dimensions 1 × 5 × 8 in