the enthusiast

“I am writing the most beautiful little play you can imagine,” Thornton informed Stein in October 1937.  “Every morning brings an hour’s increment to it and that’s all.  But I’ve finished two acts already.  It’s a little play with all the big subjects in it; and it’s a big play with all the little things of life lovingly impressed in to it.”  Our Town would “re-open the theaters.”  In it, he would dramatize the daily life of Grover’s Corners, its living and dead, its birth and death statistics and how Mrs. Gibbs ironed Dr. Gibbs’s shirts, “all in one great curve:  Quod Erat Demonstrandum.”  (Quod Erat Demonstrandum was Stein’s first novel, published after her death under the title Things As They Are.”

Sam Steward had departed, and Thornton was at the Hotel Belvoir, an hour-and-a-half walk to Zurich.  He was up at eight, wrote or copied all morning, lunched on the balcony or at his window and was “so happy that I’m not even afraid of being happy.”  He bought himself a greenish, rough-felt Tyrolean hat and summed up his life at forty as “work and the loaf-to-prepare-the-work.”


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