The Bridge of San Luis Rey and Other Stories

Library of America 194Thornton Wilder was the rare writer whose achievements as a playwright were matched by equal abilities as a novelist As companion to its volume of Wilder s collected plays, The Library of America s edition of his early novels and stories brings together five novels that highlight his wit, erudition, innovative formal structures, and philosophical wiLibrary of America 194Thornton Wilder was the rare writer whose achievements as a playwright were matched by equal abilities as a novelist As companion to its volume of Wilder s collected plays, The Library of America s edition of his early novels and stories brings together five novels that highlight his wit, erudition, innovative formal structures, and philosophical wisdom Drawing on the post collegiate year he spent in Rome, Wilder fashioned in The Cabala a tale of youthful enchantment with the Eternal City in the form of a fictitious memoir of an American student and the enigmatic coterie of noble Romans who draw him into their midst He followed this debut novel two years later with The Bridge of San Luis Rey, which catapulted him to literary prominence and earned him the first of his three Pulitzer prizes The Bridge, Wilder later wrote, asked the question whether the intention that lies behind love was sufficient to justify the desperation of living Set in 18th century Peru, the book is a kind of theological detective story concerning a friar s investigations into the lives of five individuals before they were killed in a bridge collapse An elegantly told parable, with credible historical ambience and psychologically rounded characters, The Bridge of San Luis Rey is primarily a probing inquiry into the nature of destiny and divine intention Why did God allow these particular people to die The Woman of Andros, based on the Andria of Roman writer Terence, is a meditation on the ancient world filtered through the sensibility of a meditative courtesan Heaven s My Destination, a departure from Wilder s historical themes, is a picaresque romp through Depression era America and The Ides of March takes up the story of Julius Caesar s assassination by imagining the exchange of letters among such prominent ancient figures as Catullus, Cleopatra, Cicero, and Caesar himself, groping in the open seas of his unlimited power for the first principles which should guide him The volume concludes with a selection of early short stories among them Pr cautions Inutiles, published here for the first time and a selection of essays that offers Wilder s insights into the works of Stein and Joyce, as well as a lecture on letter writers that bears on both The Bridge of San Luis Rey and The Ides of March.
The Bridge of San Luis Rey and Other Stories Library of America Thornton Wilder was the rare writer whose achievements as a playwright were matched by equal abilities as a novelist As companion to its volume of Wilder s collected plays The L

  • Title: The Bridge of San Luis Rey and Other Stories
  • Author: Thornton Wilder J.D. McClatchy
  • ISBN: 9781598530452
  • Page: 271
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 1 thought on “The Bridge of San Luis Rey and Other Stories”

    1. My ex fiance recently contacted me, interrupting my yearlong effort to convince myself I'd never hear from her again, to tell me her dad had died. It was solemn news, for I adored the man and had, once upon a time, been within a hairbreadth of being a part of his family. I searched for the proper way to respond. I went to Hyvee and looked at the sympathy cards but, seriously, they have 2 types of sympathy cards - both lame - and 4,567,987 types of cards making fun of people turning 40 (and 3% of [...]

    2. On the 20th of July, 1714, in the Spanish colony of Peru, five people descended to eternity, when they fell into an enormous abyss. Ironically, as colorful birds sung sweetly nearby , a beautiful scene of snowy mountains, far away, seen, and green vegetation with pretty trees below. The noon collapse of the bridge of San Luis Rey, not only killed the poor unfortunates, but maybe more important, showed the world, how precious life is. An uncommon novel because it tells the reader at the very begi [...]

    3. "Some say that we shall never know, and that to the gods we are like the flies that the boys kill on a summer day, and some say, on the contrary, that the very sparrows do not lose a feather that has not been brushed away by the finger of God."You might think a book so focused on God and faith would fail to have the desired effect on an atheist like me. But, actually, I think the religious factor of this novel is just a small part of something which affects all of us: our need to question why th [...]

    4. This is not mere writing. This is poetic philosophy.I'd heard it was good, but I didn't know what to expect from Thornton Wilder's The Bridge of San Luis Rey. For all I knew, it took place somewhere along the Californian coast along with all the other Sans and Santas. After all, there is the San Luis Rey Mission in San Diego. But no, this is set in Peru. Even better! I love when a story transports me some place I've never been before.The concept in a nutshell as explained on :It tells the story [...]

    5. Let me draw a scene for you. You are standing at the balcony of a high rise building and looking down at the busy road of the evening hours. You spot a fleet of coloured cars, nudging each other with a relaxed urgency, you see little boys in nickers and little girls in frocks tugging their mothers for sweet somethings, you see ebullient couples stealing a kiss while keeping an eye on the pedestrians, you locate the lesser-privileged scrapping at the abandoned baskets for respectable leftovers, y [...]

    6. “Some say that we shall never know, and that to the gods we are like the flies that the boys kill on a summer day, and some say, on the contrary, that the very sparrows do not lose a feather that has not been brushed away by the finger of God.” (p.12)Without the batting of an eye, Thorntorn Wilder’s presents his short story with the dilemma of the nature of the divine will and the resultant conflict between fate and randomness, faith and reason, meaning and absurdity.Set in the eighteenth [...]

    7. The Bridge of San Luis Rey is a beautifully written book full of eternal questions.If there were any plan in the universe at all, if there were any pattern in a human life, surely it could be discovered mysteriously latent in those lives so suddenly cut off. Either we live by accident and die by accident, or we live by plan and die by plan. And on that instant Brother Juniper made the resolve to inquire into the secret lives of those five persons, that moment falling through the air, and to surp [...]

    8. The first sentence of this novella grabs our attention: "On Friday noon, July the twentieth, 1714, the finest bridge in all Peru broke and precipitated five travelers into the gulf below." Brother Juniper was a witness to the terrible event and wondered why these five people were the victims. Was it fate or divine intervention?For six years Brother Juniper studied the lives of these five people looking for patterns in their lives, or reasons that their deaths might be part of God's plan. The nar [...]

    9. Pulitzer prize novels have been a mixed bag for me, so I approached this 1927 winner without high expectations, especially as the movie version I have seen a few years back, has been OK, but not all that memorable.Well, I changed my opinion in only a couple of pages, as I kept picking post-it notes to put down ideas and quotes. First, I was attracted by the sparse elegance of the text and the quotable sparkling of the author's wit, but these estethical delights were soon overshadowed by the pain [...]

    10. 4.5 starsThis is a brief novella which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1928 and is often mentioned in lists of the greatest novels. It is set in Peru and is centred on the collapse of a rope bridge which killed five people. A Franciscan witnesses the collapse and sets out to find out why those five people died and not others. Brother Juniper feels that the mind of God must be logical and knowable and there must be a scientific method of working out why those particular people die. He therefore sets ou [...]

    11. "Some say that we shall never know and that to the gods we are like flies that boys kill on a summer day, and some say, on the contrary, that the very sparrows do not lose a feather that has not been brushed away by the finger of God."And some of us say that we shall never know, full stop. Neither are we the playthings of fickle deities, nor are we held tenderly in the hand of some giant all-seeing ineffable being in the sky. I thought this had all been thrashed out in the 18th century - the old [...]

    12. Perhaps a ReviewA book about the connections that we forge between us, Thorton Wilder’s 1928, Pulitzer winning novel is a Great Gatsby-Heart of Darkness scale of a book, with the same type of compact brevity that the other two are famous for. The book also represents some of the ideas that were swirling around at the time in the modernist canon, all those ideas that were the precursor of the meta-fictive pomo literature that was to come some 40-50 years later. It’s often nice to explore this [...]

    13. Christmastime 2010. You just got home from attending a Christmas party. Your bedroom clock says that it is 12:01. You change your clothes and about to sleep so you turn off the light. Then your cellphone rings. It is one of your friends who just came from the same party. There is a terrible news. Five of your friends, the ones that you saw in the same party who boarded together in the same car had a fatal road accident. They are now all dead. You put down the phone. You cannot sleep anymore. So [...]

    14. I had high hopes for this and it started with an incredible opening sentence. But the whole thing remained curiously flat to me despite some detailed sympathetic characters and an interesting premise. I think my reaction may have more to do with my state of mind than the book itself. It’s the middle of a long hot summer, and my literary cravings are running to crime thrillers and sci-fi that I can easily absorb as I cower from the sun in the house with the central AC on so high that the senses [...]

    15. I have to admit this book perplexed me a little bit. I found a good deal of it haunting. It is also somewhat aloof and detached. Much is made of the fact that Brother Juniper is trying to discover God's Plan in his misapplied scientific investigation of the sudden deaths of the handful of Peruvians plunged to their death by a collapsing bridge in the 1700s, but Juniper's story just kind of peters out at the end. The story of the Esteban brothers is the most interesting one, a great short story i [...]

    16. “The most valuable thing I inherited,” he once said in an interview, “was a temperament that does not revolt against Necessity and that is constantly renewed in Hope.”Aforesaid are Thornton Wilder’s words about his own self and this short work, does reflect a bit of him, perhaps. The premise behind his conjuring up this tale is Brother Juniper’s whimsical yet putatively scientific predilection towards finding answer in the voice of God or faith for the death of five people in the des [...]

    17. Seeing as I study spanish, I loved the hispanic undertones to this book and enjoyed translating snippets from Castilian into English. Not only this, but there was a strong Catholic undercurrent in the novel, no doubt a consequence of the denomination's popularity in the hispanic world, and this made for enjoyable analysing. The novel is told by means of three separate stories, each one sending with the same event: the bridge. It's a beautiful representation of human community and the connections [...]

    18. I’m really not sure what all the fuss is with this book. Granted, there’s no modern fuss lately, but I mean the Pulitzer, the recent acclaim for Wilder’s novels more so than his plays. I bought this because I loved “Our Town” so much; this did not speak to me at all. Perhaps I would get more out of it if I read it again – now knowing the characters, their roles, how they overlap (because there is a lot of Spanish and church terminology: the Perichole, the Viceroy, the Archbishop, the [...]

    19. I had to pull out my Post-It flags for this one -- I kept finding beautiful, thought-provoking passages to bookmark. I especially enjoyed Wilder's thoughtful observations on human nature & his interesting perspective on love. Here are a few of my favorite passages: "[Dona Maria] saw that the people of this world moved about in an armor of egotism, drunk with self-gazing, athirst for compliments, hearing little of what was said to them, unmoved by the accidents that befell their closest frien [...]

    20. There are countless ways of wondering at circumstance. The Bridge of San Luis Rey in Peru collapsed on July 20, 1714, and killed five travelers. Was it an act of God? In the aftermath of the mysterious disappearance about a week ago of a Malaysian aircraft and its 239 passengers, this same question must have surfaced in many troubled minds. Do the tragedies that befall men “belie the notion of a guided world”? In his very short but profound novel, Thornton Wilder raised theological questions [...]

    21. Aşa a vrut Dumnezeu.Probabil aţi auzit des această explicaţie în legătură cu accidente şi dezastre aducătoare de moarte. Probabil aţi gândit-o chiar voi pentru a putea depăşi mai uşor pierderea subită a cuiva drag. Pentru că e mai simplu. Pentru că e frustrant să joci poker cu Dumnezeu şi să pierzi. Cum altfel? Atotputernicul blufează prea bine şi îşi ţine cărţile prea aproape de piept.Dar în acest roman (câştigător al Premiului Pulitzer în 1928), un călugăr în [...]

    22. منذ مدة طويلة لم اقرأ سرد كهذا , هذا الذي يمكن وصفه بالمحموم لن تستطيع معه حبس انفاسك , سرد عبقري يذكرني برائعة ماركيز مائة عام من العزلة حين قرأت الصفحة التعريفية في اخر الكتاب ظننت أنه سيكون أحد الكتب التي تركن إلى الفكرة أكثر من السرد , نوع تلك الروايات ذات المقاطع الطويلة و [...]

    23. I had high hopes for this one! I loved the premise but the whole thing remained pretty flat throughout. It was a short quick read tho, I read thru in less than two hours so not a major time investment. 3 stars is on the high side for how bored I was while reading this, but I gave an extra star for concept:)

    24. A perfect tale read at the perfect time.But her biographers have erred in one direction as greatly as the Franciscan did in another; they have tried to invest her with a host of graces, to read back into her life and person some of the beauties that abound in her letters, whereas all real knowledge of this wonderful woman must proceed from the act of humiliating her and of divesting her of all beauties save one.The Conde delighted in her letters, but he thought that when he had enjoyed the style [...]

    25. Since first reading this short novel over fifty years ago, I have considerably revised my rating upward, from three to five stars. When I was a student in a Catholic high school, I had some difficulty understanding the author's decidedly non-Catholic approach, especially the burning of Brother Juniper for heresy.Now I see The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder as a classic. Also, since then, I have been to Peru and read something of its literature. I have not heard about Wilder's familiar [...]

    26. I had such high hopes for this book. It sounded like a plot I should love, and it's a classic, Pulitzer Prize-winning book by one of America's best-loved authors. How could it not be a wonderful reading experience? Somehow, though, I just didn't enjoy it. I never came to feel anything for any of the characters and the writing didn't age well for me. I was anxious to just finish it and move on. Sigh.

    27. Wilder, Thornton. THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY. (1927). ****. It’s been fifty years since I last read this novel, Wilder’s second and his first Pulitzer Prize winner. Set in 18th century Peru, the book is a recounting of the researches of Father Juniper who had tried to find some divine reason for the loss of five lives as a bridge collapsed over a gulch in Lima. Juniper’s writings were ultimately burned by the Inquisition – as was the dear Father – but one copy of his treatise remained. [...]

    28. What a wondrous discovery is this book, that I finally got around to reading after it had remained, ignored in my library for so many years!At the outset, it appears to be such a simple, even trivial story about the collapse of a primitive footbridge. And the history of the five apparently unrelated people who perished that day seems at first to be equally unremarkable. But what love emerges at the end and what truths are revealed. Brother Juniper discovers that "the art of biography is more dif [...]

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