Having been attacked by the Marxist critic Michael Gold in 1930 for ostensibly ignoring the social issues of the day, and by Joseph Campbell and Henry Morton Robinson in 1942 and 1943 with accusations insinuating plagiarism, Thornton Wilder responded primarily as a creative writer. Although his plays and novels reflect his own literary goals, some passages include subtle responses to his critics. His prefaces, personal correspondence, and memoranda for his attorneys directly responded to the accusations. The attacks, at times ad hominem and homophobic, and often made in bad faith, had consequences. Wilder experienced astonishment, disgust, and personal distress. As a result of one controversy, The Skin of Our Teeth failed to win the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award. Nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1949, Wilder did not win, an outcome some critics attribute to these controversies. Wilder reacted to these attacks in the same way he lived his life and composed his writings, with poise, dignity, sensitivity, creativity, and an affirmation of human freedom.

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